Generation Cedar


Have we ever lived in a day when people were more selfish about their attire? Our humanistic indoctrination is so strong, we absolutely loathe the idea of any form of social expectations with our clothing and appearance.

And yet, years ago, it was unthinkable to not follow a respectable, social norm for dress. Until only the last decade or so, social establishments enforced strict guidelines about employees’ appearance; now I’m shocked at what is allowed.

The motto now is, “This is me…if you don’t like it, get over it.” 

A far cry from the once unspoken motto of, “I want to dress in a way that shows respect for myself and especially others.”

Torn jeans, shocking body piercings, shabby clothing, vulgar slogans…these are a few examples of what is considered standard in public.

And I’ve noticed the lines that once separated proper attire for different events has been blurred. Church, weddings, business meetings–there isn’t as much emphasis put on “dressing the part” anymore.

I submit that we need to teach our children that what we wear speaks volumes about who we are, but MOST IMPORTANTLY, speaks our heart toward other people.

I’m not talking about dressing ostentatiously (that reveals its own problems), or requiring a lot of money for your wardrobe, or even dressing up all the time.

I’m talking about simple, common sense attire.

Clothing that reveals too much of my privacy is obviously not considerate.

Clothing that is shabby, ripped, torn, grungy–shouldn’t be acceptable for general social events (unless I’m painting, maybe?)

Weird, bizarre fashions smack of rebellion or a deep sense of insecurity.

We could get into all kinds of details about what should or shouldn’t be acceptable, and granted, every individual is different and by all means should express that individuality in his or her appearance–within limits.

But it is my opinion that many of our fads are a slap in the face of civility and manners, and yet parents are determined to let their children “express themselves” instead of putting others first in this area too.

Let’s teach our children that a few minutes given to accomplish a neat, tidy appearance is so rewarding…to us, and to those around us.

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16 Responses

  1. The teenage grunge look, well that pretty much was me back in the day. The Lord has worked wonders in my life, but, everytime I see a young person dressed in something extreme, such as “gothic”, grunge, too much skin, etc., it makes me first and foremost – understand they are looking for attention, and two, that many parents have lost their influence on their children/teenagers in this day and time. It’s sad, but, like I said, I was one who would not have looked at all like a Chrisitan as a teen. God’s grace is good. Dee

  2. As much as I agree that some clothing choices seem to be made as a direct affront toward other, I wonder if the change in clothing trends has more to do with our grasping at finding identity? In days past, you often lived near your whole family, you felt like you were a significant part of the community. Your clothing identified you as a member of those groups. Today, many people feel alienated from their communities and even from their own families… So their clothing reflects either some other group (like grunge, goth, prep, etc.) or something about their own individuality as they search for identity in a group. I know many young women who don’t dress provacatively with the intent to attract male attention (many don’t even realize that they are!). I’m not saying this makes immodesty okay. What it does make me wonder, though, is: are these girls trying to offend, or are they trying to find some identity in a world that they find hostile and confusing–in a world where only their other friends (similarly dressed) seem to understand and accept them?
    Just my thoughts,
    Bethany

  3. A very good point you make in this post, about respect through appearance. Having teens, tweens, and younger ones I know that you can be “hip” or current in your choice of dress, AND be respectful to others around you!

    One of my biggest points of contention with how some parents allow their children to dress, though, has to be the way in which some folks come to church. If you believe that you are going to be in the house of the Lord, why would you wear less than your best? This is unfathomable to me! I also notice that my family gets the comments (wonderful ones, I mean!) from the older generation who see us at services, and appreciate the well-groomed appearance therein. It is a commentary on the rarity of it, though, sad to say.

  4. For the most part I agree, but one commenter mentioned something about dressing in their Sunday best.

    While I see no harm in doing so, I also am not sure there is a biblical basis for doing that. We need to be sure that we are not setting a stumbling block for those less fortunate who may not be able to afford as nice of clothes.

    I feel fortunate that I attend a church where we’ve even had folks feel comfortable coming to church in their work uniform, which the emblem on their shirt said they worked at a gas station/convenience store. I’m sure that person’s schedule made it very difficult to come to church dressed any other way, and I’m glad that the clothes culture in our church allowed that person to feel free to attend, no matter what the clothing.

    But I do agree with the general point of the post, and of the comments so far. But we just have to be understanding and not look down on those who dress differently, who knows what reason a person may have for not dressing neatly. When Jesus had dinner with the prostitutes and others of ill-repute, I’m sure they weren’t dressed for church! So, with Him as our example, we cannot allow ourselves to not associate with people based on outward appearances.

  5. Amen! (coming from a former punk/grunge wearer…)

    I was just thinking this the other day – how young people dressing the way they do shows disrespect toward others as well as themselves. I can’t tell you how many times I see a young girl with pajama bottoms and fuzzy slippers on in walmart! Or worse, with their thong showing above the edge of their pants…

    There have been a couple times I’ve seen this in church too, but I don’t know how to address them and their offensive dress…its a hard place to be caught in. I’m most concerned for preserving clean thoughts within my husband and other guys in the church.

  6. ok, so i (i should mention here that i’m on my mom’s ‘puter and the caps lock is sticking and i’ve given up on it)… i have 7 tattoos, went through a goth phase, and wear tennis shoes with skulls on them… *but*… i have always covered up… one of the things i loved about my husband from the start was that he did something different from other guys i’d dated… when he saw a girl (even a really pretty one) in a short skirt, he shook his head. he always tells his teenage daughter that even though she thinks she just looks ‘cute’ that’s *so very not* what guys see. i *love* the fact that his preference in what i wear is a knee length skirt and teeshirt. even from my *very secular* point of view… my mom raised me to dress to present myself. i work at a job where what i were doesn’t really matter, but i show up in nice sweaters, and nice clean (not tight) jeans. and recently we hired a new girl (younger than me) and i really love that she dresses the same way. i realized that it really changed the way i saw her. a piercing? doesn’t bother me… some ink? as long as it’s tasteful ( i personally have a japanese cartoon cat thing on my arm).. and again, this is my less conservative view… but if my stepdaughter shows ‘some skin’ she’s changing, even if she has to borrow clothes from me!

    another thing (sorry this is long)… it’s been *proven* that girls are developing way sooner than they should. my stepdaughter and her friends are examples… i would probably get id’d at a bar before they would. a lot of it has to do with a fatty processed diet. go on myspace and look for a 13 yr old girl… these girls don’t realize it. they think it’s ‘cute’ and fine… ‘m not saying that they should be in burlap sacks, but yeesh. where are these parents? ok, sorry, i’m done now, but this is just something that j and i harp about… and i’m proud that jules has taken her dad’s advice, and has skipped out the short skirts and tank tops for cute little tunic tops and reasonable jeans and skirts…

    one thing to add… kelly, bria is beautiful, she looks like such a respectable young lady, like a girl her age *should* look. you have every reason to be proud 😉

    again, sorry for the long rant, you girls know how it is!

  7. Kelly,

    Thank you for your manners series!

    We as parents do need to work on teaching our children (the original point of your post) to realize their identity in Christ and reflect it in their outward appearance.

  8. Thank you Shanie…you’re so kind.

    You’re welcome, Kim…seems we did get a little off subject. Just wanted to give a general “respect in our appearance” encouragement!

  9. I guess clothing and looks dont shock me so much. I always just think, ‘its a person’.

    There are some personalities that tend to have the melancholic side, or be artisitc types. Tattoos these days, are considered art. For my fortieth birthday this May, I am getting a piercing, in my nose. It has NOTHING to do with rebellion. It has everything to do with me finally, after all these years, being comfortable and accepting of who I am and my persoanlity, instead of constantly squelching it due to society, church, or whatever. I also HATED my nose as a teenager (it is kinda pointy/bigger) and begged my mom for a nose job. As a young adult, I would tell my husband how I detested my nose and how if we ever had money I wanted it fixed. Then I got into counseling, and leanred to love and accept myself and rid myself of shame. My piercing my nose is symbolic of my lifelong struggle. It is me placing emphasis on something that I used to hate, and now accept.

    I also sometimes dress flamboyantly, perhaps. People can dress modestly and still manage to draw attention to themselves deliberately. To me, its all in the heart. Its all in motivation. I like fashion and eclectic clothing; I am a thrift shop junkie….

    When I was younger I admit I dressed in short tight revealing clothing, to get attention. This is how Im pretty sure it is NOT what I am doing today. My reasoning earlier in life is not my reasoning today. I am very lax with my children on dress and we did all wear jeans to church last week. I am just glad we all found a church I am willing to take them to now. If jeans in church offend that badly, thats not my problem. Its your focus that is the problem.

    I detest when preachers that preach about wearing your Sunday best.

    The problem in society isnt dress. Its so much deeper than that. A perfect society could have grunge and holey jeans and still have love for one another. Imagfine walking out your front door and having every teen/child speak to you nicely, and offer to help you with this or that, or hold the door open for you and your children To me, THAT is what matters. Dress will or wont work itself out for each individual. Get used to it, the world isnt going uphill.

    Men dressed nicely let the door slam in my face most days, and young thugs have opened it even for my children. Who can really make sense of it?

  10. The sloppy look often isn’t as much about individuals trying to make a statement as that they are trying to fit in. The overall problem is more with society in general, rather than the individual. Teens, adults, kids–they all are just trying to look like their friends. This is human nature. But by dressing sloppily or immodestly many don’t realize the message they convey.

    Let’s not forget that a certain manner of dress doesn’t necessarily mean that a person’s heart isn’t right with God. I probably send mixed messages with my manner of dress–I dress modestly and carefully, yet I have a nose piercing. My husband has two tattoos, but they are tasteful and discreet. Yet I still hope someday that women will dress like women again: feminine and modestly, and that men will dress a little less like they are homeless.

  11. Hi Kelly.

    Jenn, don’t you just love the Bible Story about Jesus healing the demoniac?
    And after healing him the Bible says he was
    SITTING AT JESUS’S FEET,
    FULLY CLOTHED,
    and IN HIS RIGHT MIND.

    So next time you see nearly naked people out in public, in magazines, movies, internet, television…they’re not in their right minds. Not in their left minds either.

  12. well the only reason I have *any* mind at all is becasue of Christs grace. None of us did it ourselves. I am no different or in need of any less grace than any next person, nor does the way I dress make me better than them.

    So I do not get your point, Deanna. The demon possessed man, from what I understand, was naked. Ive never seen a person running the streets naked, with exception to the man on heroin across the street at 4am, with a shotgun in his hand. I liken him to the demon possessed man of the bible, not a person dressed less than modestly.

  13. Interesting because yesterday I read another blog, by an older home school mom. Would be a good thing to read to look at both sides.
    At thatmom.wordpress.com titled giving our children the freedom to be different

    just thought it was a good prospective, I have been there, still am

  14. Great post. Both of our boys mostly wears jeans but they are clean jeans and in good condition. They also fit properly as I don’t them to wear them like they’re falling off.

    They also wear either clean colored t-shirts or collared shirts. We don’t allow strange slogans.

    This started when they were little and now that they are 15 and 20 they still dress somewhat conservatively (meaning they do wear t-shirts).

    No piercings or pajamas or anything.

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