Ask Amy 3-16-14

“...,to wit”

Since: Jun 09

Location hidden

#1 Mar 16, 2014
Dear Amy: My 16-year-old son wants a tattoo, which I generally do not have a problem with. However, he wants to have a cross tattooed on his arm. To him the cross symbolizes acceptance.

He is affiliated with no religion and has not had a Christian upbringing.

I think that a tattoo of such a sacred symbol for many people could seem disrespectful or even offensive to Christians. He and his mother think I am nuts.

What are your thoughts?— Concerned Father

Dear Concerned: Your son is correct — the cross is a powerful symbol, and one of the things it symbolizes is acceptance.

I can't imagine that sporting a cross tattoo would be offensive to Christians; only that it might inspire some assumptions and conversations that your son should prepare himself to have.(For what it's worth, in researching this issue I came across a recent statement from the former Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the Church of England, stating that Christians should not be offended by non-Christians wearing crosses.) Your son might be using this issue to convey his curiosity about Christianity; if so, I hope you will support his interest.

Your family's conversation about this is a good one, and part of it should also focus on the larger issue: When he reaches maturity, your son has a right to do just about whatever he wants with his own body, but there are consequences for every choice he makes.

You and your family should also research the laws and restrictions in your state regarding tattooing. At his age he will need parental consent and a parent to be present when he gets inked.

Dear Amy: I live in a three-flat in Chicago and have a neighbor question.

I am throwing myself a birthday party at home. One set of neighbors is great, but the other neighbor has turned out to be a bit of a nut case.

I really don't want to invite either neighbor to my apartment but feel this strange sense of requirement to do so. What is your take on this?— Worried in Chicago

Dear Worried: You should not invite anyone to celebrate your birthday with you at your home who you don't genuinely want to host.

Sometimes the best way to be a good neighbor is to maintain a friendly relationship without getting too close, too soon. An invitation before you are ready would set a precedent for a relationship you might not be prepared (or want) to have.

When you live in close quarters with neighbors, and there is a possibility of disruption with guests coming and going (and the probability of more noise than usual), it is polite to give them a heads-up. You can do this by note, saying, "I'm having some friends over on Saturday night. I hope it doesn't cause any disruption for you, but please let me know if there's a problem."

If everything goes well, it would be thoughtful for you to follow up with your neighbors the next day with a "thank you" and a slice of cake.

Dear Amy: The impressive aspect of the letter from "Confused," (written by a 12-year-old boy interested in converting to Judaism) is that he has spent time to study and understand the religion he has chosen.

Most children (and probably most adults) simply adopt the religion of their parents without making (or being allowed) any choice. And I suspect that many people have not "studied" their religion at all; it is just expected that they will observe the religion of their family.

This young man should be commended for reading and studying and then deciding what religion he wishes to believe. It does not sound like his parents will be very cooperative, but, really, they should be superproud!— Jim in Paramus, N.J.

Dear Jim: I was also impressed by this boy's interest and determination to explore converting to Judaism.

I think it's somewhat common and developmentally appropriate for adolescents to think seriously about religion. This can lead to important and challenging questions. I didn't get the sense that "Confused's" strict Catholic parents would welcome his conversion, but he didn't sound easily deterred.

Plant City, FL

#2 Mar 16, 2014
1: As a Christian, I'm more offended by you being okay with a 16 y/o getting a tattoo. At least ask him to wait until he's an adult. Teenagers have NO concept of permanent/forever and removal is expensive and painful.
FWIW, I dislike crosses on Christian people...they seem a bit hypocritical to me (your temple and all) but whatever.

2: You feel required to invite people you incidentally share breathing space with? Weirdo.

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

#3 Mar 16, 2014
L1. Well, the former Archbishop of Canterbury may say one thing, but the former Pope may say something completely different.

“On Deck”

Since: Aug 08

French Polynesia

#4 Mar 16, 2014
Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the Church of England

Hancock, NY

#5 Mar 16, 2014
1: I don't like to see such a young person getting a tattoo simply because they may very well be sorry about their choice(s) when they grow up. What a person thinks and believes when they're 16 is often a reflection of what the people around them think (especially other young kids) and they may very well change their minds when they enter the real world. Once they are on their own and have had some experience, they may see things differently.

2: I don't have anything to add to Amy's answer.

3: I also am impressed that a boy that young had done so much reading and research on religion. But that doesn't mean he's truly ready to make the change. Has he done as much research on other religions or is he going to research one at a time and make multiple changes in religion? As a parent, I have always felt that my kids should be able make their own decisions about religion once they've reached adulthood and had a bit of life experience. That's pretty much what I said for lw 1. My kids were raised in a religion in which people are not baptized until they reach an age of understanding and consent. If you think about it, the people baptized in Biblical times were adults, not babies. Some of my children's friends were getting baptized in their teens. There was a lot of peer pressure to get baptized at that age. I told my kids they should wait at least until the age of 18 or older so they could make the religious commitment with a full understanding and mature mind and not just because all their friends were doing it. I give the same advice to the young man referred to here - the part about growing up and having a good understanding of what he's doing. It has nothing to do with his choice of religion as I don't really care about that. I just think kids should not be making such a serious decision until they're adults. Meanwhile, he could continue his studies and ask his parents for permission to attend religious services at other places of worship perhaps in addition to those his parents want him to attend. He could simply say he's interested in other religions and he just wants to know more about them. That would be the truth after all. If they are amenable to this, he should use the opportunity to explore other religions as well.

“An Apple a day”

Since: Jun 08

nil carborundum illegitemi

#6 Mar 16, 2014
1. He's sixteen, his prefrontal cortex hasn't yet fully matured. The parts of the brain responsible for more "top-down" control, controlling impulses, and planning ahead—the hallmarks of adult behavior—are among the last to mature. Make him wait until he's at least eighteen and can pay for his own tattoo.

2. Grow a backbone and learn to set boundaries.

3.He's 12! He can't make informed decisions yet.
boundary painter

Waco, TX

#7 Mar 16, 2014
LW1 could take a regular ball point pen, draw the proposed tattoo on
the son's arm and tell him, "If you still like this when you're eighteen, save your money to buy a permanent one." (The boy may tire of it
by then.)

Team cheluzal and team Annabella on LW2 & LW3.

Glance into the Future for LW3:

After studying for himself, the boy:
(a) became well read on both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible.
(b) joined a Bible club after school and made some good friends.
(c) decided to become a non-denominational student of the Bible because he still had a lot to learn.
(d) other

“Where is Tonka?”

Since: Feb 09

Neda, stay with me! Charlie

#8 Mar 16, 2014
1 Yo! Once your boy goes to da house he gonna have a prison tat! Dont waste your money on one now.

2 It's a party! Invite them and get drunk.

3 I dont remember this letter, but a person will believe what they want to believe. You cant force religion on someone. But of course the church and islam will disagree with me on that.

“reign in blood”

Since: May 09

Braidwood, IL

#9 Mar 16, 2014
1- Yeah, the bigger problem is allowing a 16 yr old to get a tattoo. But let him get his cross. You admit your family is Godless, maybe he's trying to tell you something. I think what's more offensive to you is the cross. Had he wanted a Yin-Yang, I doubt you'd have an issue

2- Invite who you want, screw your neighbors. Make sure you're very loud

3- "Most children (and probably most adults) simply adopt the religion of their parents without making (or being allowed) any choice. And I suspect that many people have not "studied" their religion at all; it is just expected that they will observe the religion of their family."

Really? Thanks for claiming your opinion as gospel.


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