The Loves of My Life

The Loves of My Life

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I Caught Myself

A while ago I wrote about what to wear to church and pretty much insinuated that we should just wear our pajamas. Well, last Sunday morning I was in the shower when Riley knocked on the door to ask me something. She opened the door and I told her whatever she wanted would have to wait until I got out of the shower. Then the following conversation ensued:

"Riley, please go get dressed for church."
"But Mommy, I am dressed."
"Um, the shirt is okay honey but you need a skirt or something nicer then those shorts." She was wearing those short short cozy cotton shorts.
"What Mommy, I didn't hear you?"

And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. What the heck was I saying?.....I was feeding my daughter the idea that what she was or how she looked wasn't good enough. So instead of repeating myself, I told her she looked beautiful and to go put shoes on.

Here she is that day eating her donut at church.

and no, that isn't a dress. Although from this angle it looks like it. But you can just barely see her shorts underneath.
Isn't she cute :)


Rebecca Snavely said...

That may be the most beautiful shot i've seen. Love it. I feel I need a word to holler that encapsulates that idea of freedom (and yelling "FREEDOM!" seems a wee bit Braveheart.)

The Reverend's Lover said...

I'm guilty! I totally give my kids the "church clothes" lecture. And I always feel like my rational lacks substance!!

I love that you let her go like that - because of what it stands for :) So much better to do things out of meaning rather than duty.


Lisa P said...

This is such a funny conversation that goes on in my head. I was raised that we wear our best for God, and by best, it must be a dress.

So then I grow up, go to a contemporary church and begin to work in the kids' classes and start to wear comfy clothes.

Then I have kids, and I find myself having the same conversations that you describe.

I still am undecided, and I don't think there is a "right" answer. But here are the reasons that come to mind:
1) we already delineate clothing at our house. With two acres and lots of dirt, we have set aside "work" clothes, and "friends" clothes and "paint" clothes and "restaurant" clothes (which would be much like church clothes). I think it's important for them to learn how to dress appropriately for lots of occasions.
2) My kids', and maybe kids in general, behavior is often a reflection of how they are dressed. This may seem like an exaggeration to you, but Alexa was only two when I realized that she had a much better attitude towards the day when started her day with getting her dressed in a purposeful outfit, brushing her hair and putting in ponytails (or something), and brushing her teeth. Now she is the extreme on a lot of things, but it was night and day difference on how she carried herself, responded, and rose to expectations with a bit of physical prep. That still holds true for her and my other two; they rise to the occasion when they are put together for something special--a wedding, family dinner out, church, etc.

So there are my two cents. Now, Alexa doesn't always wear dresses, doesn't always match, and often is wearing bright, striped socks pulled up to her knees with clean, nice shorts to church. But it was something that was purposefully chosen to represent her best. So that's where I feel the communication is different from my childhood. Then, there was a church box to fit into. Now, I try to address the heart of presenting our best to God without the strict limitations on what our "best" is.

But it's still food for thought for me, and I'll be growing and adjusting along with all of us parents who are constantly analyzing why we do what we do.

Thanks for such a fun topic.

patti deharo said...

riley looks beautiful!!!! and it is true we want our kids to look perfect for church when all that matters is they attend enjoy it who cares what they look like~

edie said...

Love it, Jen. I hope you put the picture in a photo album with the caption, "At church." Great stuff to think about.

Pot Liquor said...

She's a cutie. Her hand band rocks!

Diane Davis said...

i love that you are thinking about the deeper meaning behind the appearance...