April 17, 2021

Little Girls in White Dresses

Girl Going to Sunday SchoolRing 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.

My darlings love dresses! They’d choose them over pants any day…except for when chore time rolls around! 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 churched 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-faced 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 portions of it with me on TV. 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.

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2 thoughts on “Little Girls in White Dresses

  1. One of the things I really appreciate about this post is the fact that our culture is drifting off course in many ways because we don’t realize the impact we are having through our children. They are effected by so many things that we think that we can tolerate (and we’re probably not realizing the impact on us as well).

    For example, Mary talks about how her child pays attention in church vs. the ones that want her child to be with them. There’s an impact there that is absent from our discussion of public schools, etc., because we do not take into account the peer and innocence aspect– or we just don’t value them as highly as we ought.

    Children are precious treasures that we’ve been gifted to raise, and to just say that they are there and that it’ll be fine– it’s not good enought.

  2. Well written Mary, its nice to see a different writing style around here!

    At the end of your post you bring up shattering innocence and whatnot. Its sad that we live in a world that forces us to do this sort of thing at younger and younger ages and I respect that you address these things in an adult matter as possible. Its important to realise that sheltering your children and putting them on “short leashes” will only do so much good in the short term. If parents wont address these sort of very real concerns and explain them in an appropriate manner, then you are leaving the responsibility to the media or their peers/teachers/ect…

    Our society has become obsessed with pointing the finger at today’s unsavory popular culture as an excuse for their bad parenting. What these people don’t realise is that they are not special and that, eventually, every child is exposed to the same influential things. Thats why its a culture; you can’t avoid it. The important thing is how they are raised and prepared to react to, deal with, and maybe even improve the much less-than-perfect real world around them.

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