Tattoo culture has grown dramatically in the past 10 to 15 years. What was once seen as a signature for bikers, war veterans or former prison inmates are now something that most people either have experienced, or will experience.
The New York Times recently estimated that one fifth of adults in the United States are tattooed, although many are still easily able to hide their ink at work or elsewhere.
As a father of three who is tattooed, it’s a pretty interesting experience. I live in a pretty conservative part of the country, so when I show up to a baseball game or a parent teacher conference, I don’t usually see someone who looks like me. Now obviously, if I didn’t want them to be noticed sometimes I’d be lying, but there are still certain stigmas attached to tattoos that I don’t always want to lead with.
However, the longer I’ve had them (10 plus years), the less I care what others might or might not think. So when I meet some parents that my kids are playing with for the first time or a new teacher, I usually don’t cover them up. Before I go any further, I should mention that I don’t have Love – Hate on my knuckles or an ex-girlfriends name on my neck, but I do have a full right arm sleeve that I like to think stands out, especially during the warm weather months.
What do I tell my kids about my tattoos or tattoos in general? Everything.
I tell them why I have them, what they mean to me and really any other details I can provide. I have the initials of each of my sons on a forearm piece on my left arm and my youngest will still occasionally point out his place on the piece to people I might be in conversation with about them. And that’s a big plus to visible ink, they are a great conversation starter.
If my kids ever decide to get their own ink, I hope they ask me for advice about who to go to and what to get. I am pretty opinionated about them and won’t hold back with my thoughts.
I feel that tattoos should not be approached lightly and you should always take at least a year to think about and plan what you want to have on your body forever.
What about you? Do you have tattoos? What do you tell your kids about them and about tattooing in general?