Bluejeans for the Virgin Mary

20130826-023030.jpg“Look Mama, I’m wearing my new bluejeans to church!” Immediately, the wheels in my mommy brain begin turning over the best way to explain to my five-year-old why he can’t wear his new and exciting pair of jeans to the Sunday church service. He is so proud of these pants! At last, he is big enough to manage the snap on his own. But I’d like him to wear a dressier pair of slacks to church, especially since he will be serving in the altar this week.

As I dive in to explanations of what constitutes dressing up, a concept that can be tough for any kid his age, I quickly see that he does actually understand the idea of being respectful and dressing up in God’s house– but he disagrees about what that looks like. And he has strong opinions about this, just as he does about everything else.

I finally think to ask him why he wants to wear the jeans so much.

“Because they are blue! Blue is the Virgin Mary’s favorite color! Please, please can I wear them for her?”

He wore them, of course. Why would any mother want to argue with that reasoning?

It was a good lesson for me: we never know what someone is thinking unless we ask. We should not assume that someone’s choice of clothes is disrespectful or inappropriate just because we might choose differently. Perhaps they are thinking of something quite different–like how to honor the Virgin Mary.

My son knows I don’t allow him to dress as a superhero in church because it distracts the other kids who are coming to pray and think about God. But I could not find a single good reason why he should not be allowed to wear his jeans today. His heart was in the right place.

Raising children is a continual learning experience. In some ways it is very humbling! What does your child like to wear to church? If it really matters to him or her, how do you handle this question in your family?

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2 Responses to Bluejeans for the Virgin Mary

  1. elijahmaria says:

    Dear Mary, The story is small and personal but the lessons for all of us are huge. How do we know when we are being Pharisaical and when we are truly protecting the dignity of the Sabbath or any other act of religious reverence or biding of the laws? I tend always to speak sternly and act gently but am constantly being called to task for being too lenient, too willing to allow the spirit of the age to creep in to whatever is in question at the moment. But I am deeply impressed by the fact that you asked your son why it was so important to him and then to allow him to live out his little-boy reverence. Thank you for the lessons and the reminders and the affirmation!

    Fondly in Christ!

    Mary

    • maryeholste says:

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am learning all the time how often I am wrong, and this little story was a funny but sweet example! As a parent, I often wonder about how to teach reverence in outward things– which is important because it is one way we learn about inward things– but without leading them to be self-conscious or pharisaical, especially when I know that I can be self-conscious and pharisaical myself… Lots of grace needed here! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! You were right on.

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