(This post published also at MInTheGap on July 20, 2006)
Ring a bell? ‘Raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens’…from “My Favorite Things” in The Sound of Music…I’d think we’d all agree with Rodgers and Hammerstein that little girls in white dresses are pretty precious…
Last week I found several adorable sundresses at Wal-Mart–on sale even! I got each daughter one, and one to put away for next year. I so rarely find “pretty” dresses these days…at least not ones that are reasonably priced. I can’t see buying name brands when my girls will outgrow them so quickly. I know, we can pass them down, and we do, but give me a break! $60 for a little girl’s dress?
My darlings love dresses! They’d choose them over pants any day…except for when chore time rolls around! (Got to protect legs from bugs, dogs and pasture grass!) They also love long hair…both my older daughters have no bangs and hair to almost their waists. They’d tell you it’s because ‘Daddy likes it that way’—and this from a man who was raised by a mom and sister who won’t wear dresses/skirts! To him, femininity is synonymous with long hair and dresses…a preference, not a mandate.
The majority of women in our area attend church in pants or capris. I honestly don’t have a problem with it, having worn pants to church before myself! But how times have changed, and I wonder if our adult complacency has bled over onto the younger generation. After all, most teens push the line of what’s acceptable in matters of dress. Remember when long flowing floral-patterned dresses were en vogue for teens? When Daisy Kingdom creations turned little girls into princesses? Now, skirts are uneven or short…jeans with extravagantly embroidered hip pockets, tank tops and flip-flops are the standard.
Seems our culture is intent on invading every pore of the church…from Christian rock stars whose snarly appearance is no different from those of their secular counterparts to “tolerance/acceptance” being the new norm. Today’s issues ripen behind scenes, and before you know it, a church splits.
Is it okay for instance, to throw a baby shower on church property for an unwed, unrepentant, expectant mother? Initially, not an issue with me. But what about all the little girls in white dresses who thought up to this point that God only gave babies to married people? My daughters believe this. And they LOVE baby showers…
Oh how I hate to shatter that kind of innocence. And layer by layer, we’ve shattered it. Our 8 year old was only 3 when planes crashed into the twin towers and she watched it with me. We’ve talked divorce. We’ve talked abortion. She helps me every spring to raise money for the local crisis pregnancy center. She called all her cousins when Hurricane Katrina hit and they put their dollars together and raised over $250 for relief efforts. Then we watched the desperate of
New Orleans shoot at their rescuers. She can handle the truth.
But children tend to see everything as black and white. At least mine do. They question everything. I wonder, do the teenagers in church ever think about what impact they have on the children growing up…watching their every move? Does every church have a pew full of teens that sit together during the service so they can pass notes and totally ignore the pastor’s message?
When the 7-10 year old girls are clamoring to have our 8 yo join them in their parent’s pew I’ve said no. Thankfully, 8 yo understands. She actually likes to fill in the blanks on the sermon notes in the bulletin. If I’d allowed her to sit away from us, she may never have developed the discipline to sit and pay attention. And once you give a freedom, just try to take it away without resentment on the part of your child. Really. Whether they are a toddler or an 8 year old…or worse yet…a teenager!
Why not keep the standard high? Maybe we’ll contribute to a better trend. After all, God has a few things to say about causing little ones to stumble.
And as every mom knows, it takes diligence to keep those little white dresses unstained.