I’m from Texas. Big hair, high heels, bright colored clothes and lots of Maybelline. It’s just something in the water growing up in that magnificent state.
When I came to Florida, about the only thing that changed was I gave up my high heels for flip flops. When my daughter was born, the bigger the bow the better. Everything had to match. As the Lord added to our family, the children had to match. And I have taken my fair share of ribbing for it over the years, but I’ll stand by this aspect of my Houston heritage and I will tell you why.
“Man looks on the outside, but God weighs the hearts,” the Scriptures tell us. I have heard this verse used many times to defend a carelessness about appearances, but let me argue the other side. Yes, it is our responsibility to train their hearts. Integrity, kindness, humility, and mercy are among a myriad of character traits that we try to teach our children. Of course, teaching them about the love and grace given with faith in Christ is singularly the most important thing we can teach our children.
But if we are to raise a child who is gainfully employed (at bare minimum), we should remember there is some person he/she is going to have to impress to get that job! They may be wonderful on the inside. We could have trained their character flawlessly, but if we have neglected to train them in basic hygiene (no one wants to hire someone whose stinky breath and yellow teeth are unbearable at five paces distance) who will hire them?
We must train our children in the way they should go. We must intentionally train them to BE the type of person we would all hope for them to marry. This takes work. Repetition of the basics in hygiene. Endless reminders.
So many mommas will ask me how I get my older daughters to dress nicely. Their closets don’t contain anything I wouldn’t want them to wear in the first place. This does not take endless amounts of cash, here have been seasons I have had to make most of their clothes.
But I have always dressed nicely (thank you Texas! and to my mother who was always dressed to the nines and wore makeup to just drink her coffee), done my hair, and 9 times out of 10 you see me with my Maybelline. It begins with mom being the example of training them up. And even then, let me tell you, you will have to remind them multiplied thousands of times to wear their deodorant (my word, can’t they sniff it themselves?), brush their teeth, comb their hair, to train them how to be presentable.
I am imploring you as a parent to take a good gander at your children and the state of their personal appearances. Not just Sunday morning, but every morning. Some children we have to constantly remind not to care SO much about their appearances. But on the whole, the opposite is true. This area of training we must not neglect. We must be intentional. We must be pro active.
Day by day, week after week, and year after year…train their hearts for that special purpose God created them for, and to be a ready helpmeet to their spouse, but do not neglect to train them to care for their outside appearances.
Teach them to be mindful of what they are communicating through their outward appearances. Many times we communicate far more with our clothing and mannerisms than we do with our words. Don’t lose heart in those tween and teen years. It’s well worth it!