Times Sure Have Changed
By John R. Greenwood
I have used this little story to get a laugh many times in the past. I tell it to balance out another parent’s story of frustration and terror raising and/or dealing with a teenager living under his or her roof. Times change, the majority of the time we complain because it is always for the worse. We are never happy. We ask for economic growth and larger tax bases then we proclaim vehemently how much we hate overcrowding and development.
This story fits in there somewhere but on a much lighter scale. It has to do with a teenage son asking his panic-stricken parents for permission to get his ear pierced. This happened several years ago yet the scenario is a vivid memory I enjoy reliving. He was serious, straightforward, and amazingly professional with his request. “I would like to get my ear pierced?” He was not telling as most teens might do. He was in the process of selling a product; “Himself”. Well, we had always been very open with our two sons and we respected the way he handled the well-scripted sales pitch. First, we wanted a chance to analyze the consequence of our decision. We struck a deal, parent to child, a written contract was not necessary. Teenagers can remember letter by letter any agreement you make as long as the outcome benefits them. If it is the other way around, all bets are off. The life-altering contract read as follows, “Wait three months, if at that time you still want your ear pierced we will personally take you to a reputable business to have it done.” hoping beyond hope that this was just another fleeting teen phase. Three months to the day and there he is, car keys in hand, “Let’s go!”
Score: Teenager (1) Parents (0).
Well, to neatly tie up the end of this story I have to finish with a, “Times sure have changed” adage. I took my then 14yr old son out to the mall for his first and I believe his last piercing. I did it with pride and no prejudice. I was proud of how he handled the request and never once questioned whether, we as parents, would hold up our end of the bargain. In teenager rearing terms, “That’s Huge!” We entered the mall father and son, side by side, a new-age rite of passage. We walked out of the mall each with a newfound respect for each other based on keeping one’s word and having the integrity to follow through with an uncomfortable outcome.
Well as any proud father will do when his son reaches another milestone in his life; I called my father to break the news about his ear pierced grandson. “Dad, do you remember the day you bought me my first BB gun? Have I got a story for you!”