This week I am feeling like I must be 157 years old instead of just the 57 years young that I am! ( ha ha )  Notice how I cleverly used that word "just" ? I do mental tricks like that with myself now and then. I like to think of myself as a fairly tuned in and current person. I never want to be so out of touch, so archaic that I find myself completely unable to relate to the younger generation or even those that approach life from a different perspective than I.

This week however has opened my eyes a bit more.

Why is that? Well, we are on vacation and I am simply seeing more inked individuals in one area at one time than what I usually do. A half century ago, being tattooed was mostly something that young military guys indulged in , and often when they were drunk. Not so today - as I have sat on the beach this week, it is a fair statement to say that being inked is all the rage in our culture. I have to ask ....why? I am simply intrigued about what the appeal is. Yesterday I saw many young families where both parents had several tattoos. Mommy wasn't just sporting the notable "tramp stamp" on her lower back, but had tattoos on her neck, her arms, her ankles, and her back. I wasn't looking at these folks with disdain, or disapproval or anything of the sort , but mostly with a question mark floating in my head. The reason for that is I kept looking at her little babies who were about two and four and eight years old. I was simply wondering if these little ones must view getting inked as just part of growing up. After all, as they hit their teen years, they will look back and never remember seeing their parents without them. So the logical conclusion would be that many of today's young children will view being tattooed as simply part of the maturing process....like getting a driver's license, voting, getting married and so forth. I know that sounds like a bizarre and foreign thought...but is it ? I don't think so. I honestly think that young and little minds today are perceiving things that are really recent cultural trends to just being part of life. It is intriguing to think about.

 It is true that every generation is different in terms of how life is lived. Just look at technology...my two year old grand daughter knows how to pull up photos on my I phone, scroll through them, click on videos and how to delete them as well. It is just a fact that depending on which decade we are born into this world, will determine the types of knowledge and activities that we will be involved in. It goes without saying that technology affects what children are exposed to, how they play, and what they think about. I recognize then that different cultures and time periods dictate that our lives will be different to a certain degree, but should there also be a shift in thinking when it comes to marking our bodies ?

It is a thought provoking question.

Many feel that the Bible has the answer. That is really no surprise because it answers all of life's questions for us.

Leviticus 19:28 says " You shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead; nor print any marks upon you , I am the Lord." 

 Because this is a verse from the old testament, scores of folks will cry out that it no longer applies to us today. While it is true that there were laws and mandates from the old testament that are not observed in our culture , I still wonder if it is not wise to consider this verse when thinking about putting marks on ourselves.  I also think of another verse....Ecclesiastes 7:8 - " The end of a thing is better than it's beginning." In other words, we all need to consider how we will feel about something years down the road , not just how we feel about it now. There are countless older people who now regret the tattoos that they got in their youth. In fact the Tatttoo Removal Institute reports that close to 50% of those who get tattoos when they are young, regret that decision later in life. 

Right about now many readers will be asking ' What about the lady in the picture above ? She is older and she seems happy. " That is precisely why I used her picture. The purpose of this blog entry today is not to throw all inked folks under the bus, not at all. It also is not to make broad or sweeping generalizations saying that everyone regrets their tattoos once they age. My purpose however is to hopefully trigger some thought in all of us as to why so many are jumping on to a band wagon that they often want to abandon as they travel further down the road.

The sad truth is that our culture has gone so nuts with inking , that there are many parents who have been arrested and put in prison for tattooing their young children....yes, kids under five years old. Never mind that tattooing is a painful procedure and that this constitutes a real form of child abuse. I could have posted a picture of a little toddler whose parents had almost half of his body tattooed, but it is just too sad and tragic to look at so I decided against doing so.

Getting INKED - whether it is just a fad, a trend, or here to stay, I do not know. All I do know is that it is a cultural phenomenon that makes me wonder and also makes me uneasy. It is not something to trifle with or indulge in without careful thought and foresight. Thankfully, many mistakes that we make in life do not have long lasting or permanent consequences. Not so with this issue.

Something to think about.