I’m going to tell you a little secret. Here it goes….I HATE Kylie’s sneakers. Sorry. This confession probably means I’m not the coolest, hippest mom in the world. I don’t know why I hate them so much…..Perhaps they’re a little too “gangster, hip-hoppy” something for my taste. I think they’re plain, old ugly. Where does she get her style? Besides, they are A LOT of work to put on. I’m more of a flip flops kind-of-girl. It takes this child like a year to lace these things. Last Fall she tried these shoes on and I said no to her getting them.
|Oh, her style! Hate the shoes, love her HEART for God!!|
Parents, administrators and any one in authority over any child or teen, I ask you, why do you set the rules that you do? Why do you say “no” as often as you do? Is it because you like control or to exercise your authority? Is it some kind of power trip? Are your concrete rules based on your own preferences or agenda?….OR is it because the rules help the subordinate to become more like Christ?
When our son Brandon first came to the States from Ukraine we had to fight him every Sunday to put him in a shirt, tie, dress pants and belt for church. He wasn’t aggressive with his dislike for “church clothing.” I could just tell by his fake smile and body language that he really HATED the way he looked in them. He was more a jeans kind of guy. After a few weeks of putting him in something clearly he hated, we finally decided, “What difference does it make what he wears to church?” In fact, we buried our son purposefully in jeans, NO BELT and sneakers.
|Brandon's fake smile. This Mama knew he hated his clothing|
As a child myself who grew up in a fundamental, Baptist environment and one who upon graduation at 17 WALKED AWAY from the faith for a few years, I tell you plainly: Rules without a REASON breeds REBELLION and/or Rules without a RELATIONSHIP breeds REBELLION.
When it comes down to it, I do not care what style shoes our kids wear. It does not matter what COLOR their socks are, or if there is a belt around their waists. It does not matter if I do or do not prefer what they are wearing, as long as it is modest and the Holy Spirit would approve of the content on their garments.
What I care about is their HEARTS. I do not want my babies to experience the bitterness and rebellion that I went through. I made a lot of poor choices that I will always regret. I want to know more about their actions and attitudes. Are they living two different lives—a squeaky clean, rule book life on one side and a sneaky rebellious life on the other side? Are they a true follower of Christ?
I read a book about Jonathan Edwards that I took notes from regarding Five Signs of True Followers of Christ (I wish I’d written down the title of the book). Here they are:
1. A true follower HAS a genuine and obvious LOVE FOR JESUS
2. A true follower of Christ HATES SIN
3. A true follower LOVES GOD’s WORD
4. A true follower LOVES TRUTH
5. A true follower LOVES OTHER BELIEVERS
Notice, there is nothing there that says anything about appearance or clothing colors. When Brandon died, and I was questioning his conversion, I didn’t think about his appearance or clothing. I wanted to know did he LOVE JESUS, HATE SIN, LOVE GOD’s WORD, LOVE TRUTH and LOVE OTHERS??? And the answer to all of the above is YES, he did!
|Written in Brandon's journal "I like Jesus"|
I would caution anyone in authority from focusing too much on appearance and rules just for the sake of having rules. Tim and I led a 6th grade “pre-youth group” back in Florida. I will tell you the students that looked the sharpest and talked the sweetest to your face were the ones who were the most wild behind the scenes. In my own youth group while I was a teen, the youth pastor’s favorite students who “looked the part” were the ones fornicating down stairs in the church basement. Tim and I have chaperoned high school students before, and the most well-liked, smooth talking, squeaky-clean- on-the-surface, rule-following students are the ones who have walked away from the church.
So anyway, Kylie has wanted these sneakers for over a year. I finally caved. I realized I had absolutely no reason to tell her no to the shoes other than my own personal disdain for the looks of them. What is most important to me is that Kylie made a decision for Christ and there is evidence in her life that shows she is following Him. Her Bible has an underline in purple pencil, “Your Word have I hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against you.” Psalm 119:11.
|This is Kylie's Bible opened up to Psalm 119, with the purple pencil underlining|
"Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against You."
Parents, Authority figures, I recommend what Matthew 23 teaches, “First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside will also be clean.” In other words, worry first about the hearts of the children, and the rest will hopefully fall into place. Finally, maybe consider sacrificing your own personal tastes or opinions so you do not give a foothold to bitterness in the lives of those children.
|There's my oldest girl and boy in their favorite jeans!!|