As a young mother, I worked hard to make sure my children were presentable when they went to school, church or anywhere else. The toddlers got their high white shoes polished every Saturday night, and I ironed all the little girl dresses and little boy shirts.
Outfits on school picture-taking days were especially important, and I tried to coordinate clothing colors with the eventual wall display of 8 x 10’s in mind.
Unfortunately I frequently forgot to look at the school calendar. One year picture day slipped past me completely, and the kids wore a haphazard array of shabby clothes. Klaus, then in his shark phase, had been given a white souvenir t-shirt from Florida with a picture of Jaws on the front and a splattering of fake blood on it. The shirt was a grungy white with a stretched neck, and completely unacceptable for picture day. But I didn’t catch it, and that’s what he wore.
I don’t think Klaus did it for any specific reason other than that he loved his shark shirt. When the picture proofs came back, I took one look and was disappointed, but Klaus saw only his great-looking hair. How could I then say, “I can’t believe you wore that awful shirt!”
This kind of thing is what drives moms crazy. But looking now at Klaus in his blood stained picture, I have to laugh. From today’s perspective, it’s no big deal. Actually, it’s a colorful story.
Buried in there somewhere is an encouraging word for today’s young mommies, not just on school picture day but any day. We mothers can get so caught up in our efforts to make our families look good that we’re swept into a parenting panic when they don’t.
The Bible reminds us that only one thing will matter in 100 years, and it’ll have nothing to do with our clothes. The important issue will be where we are, not how we’re dressed. Will we be spending the umpteen years of eternity with or without the Lord?
In the mean time, we shouldn’t let ourselves get stressed over things that eventually won’t matter. But if we’re into fashion and enjoy thinking about what our children will be “putting on” each day, rather than concentrating on them looking good, we can focus on their character. They put that “on” each day, too. Are they kind, patient, giving?
In the end, after all the polished shoes, ironed dresses and even the shark shirts are no more, character-clothes will still look good.
“Put on then… compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.” (Colossians 3:12)