Lauretta Hannon: On tattoos and childhoods spent outdoors
by Lauretta Hannon
July 09, 2013 12:09 AM | 2822 views | 2 2 comments | 38 38 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Q: What is the etiquette for admiring someone’s tattoo? I’m fascinated by them, but evidently some folks are offended when you ask about them the wrong way. Is it being nosy to ask if it has a meaning? I’m not judging, just quenching my thirst for knowledge.

A: Some folks are offended by anything. How are you going to have an attitude when asked about the ink dragon covering your entire arm? That’s like getting incensed when someone inquires about your bumper stickers. You put them there for people to notice!

Don’t get me wrong: I’d be perturbed if I had an ex-husband’s name splayed across the back of my neck, and you quizzed me about it. But soon after the spousal breakup, I’d be prepared with a self-deprecating response or outlandish story. When one displays body art, questions should be expected. Perhaps the prolonged needle exposure in the tattoo parlor has made some a tad sensitive.

Q: I’m tired of kids complaining of being bored over summer vacation. I don’t know a parent alive that doesn’t hear this. When we were little, we found or made up things to do. Children don’t use their imaginations or go outside. What do you think of this?

A: I think it’s time for a parental revolution. The average American boy or girl spends only four to seven minutes in unstructured outdoor play each day but squanders fifty-three hours a week in front of an electronic screen. Our kids are bored because we’ve neglected something essential to their well-being, health, and development: Connection to the natural world. They are deficient in elemental things. Like us, they need to get outside to restore body, mind, and soul.

Other factors are our hurried, over-scheduled lifestyles; our deep fear that it’s not safe to let kids play outside by themselves; and the well-meaning but misguided belief that we’re denying them opportunities if we don’t enroll them in everything. This kind of thinking damages the entire family. Will enough parents begin the revolution in their own homes?

Eve Ross, a mother of two in North Carolina, decided to take a stand.

“My husband and I have been swimming against the current for the past 13 years,” she says in an article on “We heavily promote sitting outside under the trees and watching the leaves fall, making up games, painting, and reading. I can’t begin to tell you how viciously we were attacked by other parents telling us how sorry they felt for our children because they were so deprived and would be so behind the other kids as they grew up…Turns out just the opposite is true. Our kids are grounded, thoughtful, excellent problem-solvers, incredibly creative, extremely well read, and never bored. They are calm, meditative, and most importantly, happy.”

Childhood should be a time of freedom, spontaneity, and fresh air. Third grade wouldn’t have been nearly as nice without the time I spent perched high up in a magnolia tree. My middle school years were made bearable thanks to all the daydreaming done in our backyard hammock. (And I bet my neighborhood had far more crime than yours does now.) By today’s standards I was thrown to the wolves and allowed to run with them, and for that I am grateful.

Two scenes come to mind from my experience working at a private school. First was the ninth-grader who plopped down in my office to whine that her personal trainer was 10 minutes late.

That was ridiculous, but the situation viewed through my window was more telling. A five-year-old reached for her father’s hand as they walked to their car in the parking lot. He was busy texting and didn’t notice his little girl trying to hold his hand. She tried twice more before giving up.

Our children reflect our parenting. If we want them to change, we’ll have to work on ourselves first.

Send your questions to

Lauretta Hannon, a resident of Powder Springs, is the bestselling author of The Cracker Queen — A Memoir of a Jagged, Joyful Life and a keynote speaker. Southern Living has named her “the funniest woman in Georgia.” See more at
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SNakes inna Yard
July 10, 2013
There's cars constantly flying by with distracted drivers, keeping us safe from "those" people coming here on a train to break into our cars and steal our phones that we NEED for navigating our cars and playing iTunes on the car radio, so the kids have to play inside so we can all be safe.

Wait, if we didn't "need" phones for our cars nobody would break into our cars and then we could use public transit to go to work and then there wouldn't be cars flying by constantly and then the kids could play outside like in the 1960s and 1960s. I would call that a rewind to the way things used to be like what Republicans always claim to want. It would be a great bit Conservative step forward, but wait, the Right casts public transit (ironically the most cost efficient use of transportation tax dollars BY FAR when you count ALL the dollars) as the liberal terrorist devil that is trying to steal our freedoms.

So that's okay, keep the kids inside playing video games. They will get used to isolation before imprisoning themselves in cars on their way to "working" at their basically-prison jobs and "eating" at their prison-cafeteria-ish chain restaurants.

After all, we are the United STates of America. We imprison ourselves more than anyone on Earth, EVER, and that is how we all stay free.

Oh wait there's a bunch of snakes this year.

Never mind!

Mom and/or Dad don't want to have to pay attention to anything but their iPadPhone, and the snakes are the perfect reason not to!

Kids, you stay inside where it's SAFE! We all made it too dangerous for you outside, but um SNAKES!
5 year ink
July 10, 2013
If toys can have disappearing ink that only lasts a few moments, surely somebody can invent tattoo ink that lasts only about 5 years and then disappears.

Just think about the increased profit at the tattoo parlor being able to refresh an entire body every five years rather that covering them up once per lifetime. Think about the butterfly tattoo that turns into a sagging moth. How it instead it vanishes?

So stop smoking pot and get to work on the chemistry set inventing 5 year ink, ya buncha crazy tattoo junkies! YOU could be making money off your old, used up customers. Instead it's dermatoligists making money removing crappy old tattoos! Why do you let doctors take money you should rightfully earn? Just invent 5 year ink and that money is YOURS!!!

Imagine the pricing possibilities! "Oh, 5 year ink is more expensive to produce, that's why it costs 30% more." And they would have to pay that extra 30% every 5 years!!
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