Do you remember when the quickest way your mother could bring you down when you were busy singing the latest pop song was to ask whether you knew your schoolwork?
And if you didn’t quit the singing, the dancing or whatever she considered to be inappropriate behaviour quickly enough, you’d be asked to recite your 9 times table or some innocuous fact from last week’s homework that you didn’t think she remembered – just so that you could prove it to her.
Back then, parents were quick to nip in the bud, whatever they considered to be troubling issues or unsuitable conduct.
These days I wonder if some parents are paying any attention.
Take tattoos for instance.
I’ve been on my soapbox with this before. I’m not a big fan of them even on people who have been around the block more than a few times, have all their wits about them and have clearly thought the whole thing through.
Not that tattoos are a sign of deviant behaviour or proof that your child is on her way to hell, but when I hear that a teenager who is still in school is showing off her tattoo on Facebook, I realize that times certainly have changed.
The parent who was telling the story wondered what kind of relationship this daughter had with her mother where something like that was acceptable in her house, but maybe that’s because it was perfectly acceptable in her house. Not all parents see things the same way.
Truth be told, there probably are a lot of these expressions hiding underneath the collars and cuffs of more school uniforms than we think. So now we know where all the money from those chores is being spent.
But there are some kids who are obviously running the show where they live.
My husband told me that last week he saw a boy riding a bike. He was surprised not by the wheelies he was executing, but by the fact that plain as day, were two teardrops tattooed on the teenager’s face.
Now I don’t know if these tears were designed to be an everlasting reminder from his mother of the butt-whipping he got when he had put a tattoo somewhere else. Or if like the basketball player Amar’e Stoudemire, they were placed there to show that he’s always crying inside.
Maybe his tattooed tears represent the number of people that he’s killed so he’s silently telling us to stay away before he’s forced to add another tear. Maybe he wants to erase the stigma associated with that particular tattoo. Maybe he thought it just looked nice.
I’m not sure his mom is any the wiser either, because this school-aged boy has been missing quite a few lessons – and not just the type that we get in class, either.