Rites of Passage

We had a rite of passage around here today.  Kiki got her ears pierced.  She’s wanted it done since she was about 5.  My parents wouldn’t let me get mine done until I was 12, so my first reaction was to make her wait until 12.  But when I sat down and tried to figure out “Why 12?” I found my back brain mumbling something about “responsibility” and “old enough”.  I realized what I really wanted was for her to be responsible enough to take care of the holes and earrings herself without any intervention from me.  I decided that when she was consistently taking care of her hair and fixing it every day without my help, that would demonstrate adequate levels of responsibility. 

I told Kiki this and from age 5 to age 9 she had sporadic days where she tried to earn her earrings.  Then about a month ago I realized it had been months sinced I’d brushed Kiki’s hair.  It looked nice, so I had to assume that she’d been doing it by herself.  I brought it up with Howard and double checked that he was alright with his daughter having holes in her earlobes. He was fine with it.  In fact he was the one who took her out to lunch and to the mall to get her ears pierced. 

Kiki is extremely delighted with the ear rings.  Far more delighted now than she would have been had I simply taken her after her first request.  She earned the right to wear those ear rings. 

I swear I didn’t intentionally plan it this way 4 years ago, but now I really really like the fact that she has a physical reminder that responsibility brings priveledges.  This is such an important message to teach children because we live in a society which believes in entitlement.  All forms of media preach it every day and if kids can’t see in their own lives that we get what we earn, then they’ll believe the hype.  Wow, that got preachy.

Anyway, Kiki has ear rings and they look beautiful on her.  And I feel wistful and nostalgic because my “baby” is growing up so fast and now she has her ears pierced.