Sunday, February 6, 2011

Henna Tattoos and Teenage Hearts


Today, my daughter wanted me to help her put henna tattos on her hands. I gave her the kit for Christmas because it reminded me of our last summer. At a street fest , Sabrina and I had both gotten henna tattoos. The scrolling flowers and leaves were stained onto our hands and lasted an impressive two weeks.

Mixing the powder with eucalyptus was fairly easy. We had to let the pasty brown mixture sit for 45 minutes, then I carefully squirted it onto her hands in flowing lines. The design sat and hardened, turning a deeper brown and then black. Little by little the powder cracked and fell off leaving behind a brown stain. The henna left its mark.

Henna tattoos are a nice picture of our job as parents. Day in and day out, through conversations and laughter, through tears and sometimes arguments, we are impressing our beliefs and our faith on our kids. We might not even realize, sometimes, that it is sticking. They may shrug off our views and opinions as old-fashioned or uninformed. But our words will no doubt leave a stain.

I was talking to a friend whose kids are in their late teens. Some of their latest life choices have unsettled her. She is worried that their Christian heritage might not stick. I assured her that her efforts have certainly made an impression on both who they are and who they will become.

In my oft quoted Gilmore Girls, Lane Kim, whose mom makes every effort to restrict her life with church standards, chooses a rebellious path. At one point though, she confronts her mom. "Why have you done this to me?" she asks. "Why are you in my head!" She moans that though she disagrees with her mom's strict religious views, she cannot ignore her mom's guidance.

The Bible says that "Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee" (Psalm 119:11). God's word is like a henna stain that promises to remain in our lives, to help us and guide us. God's Words will stain our own lives and tattoo its truths on the lives of our children.
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