Last fall I wrote about how we were going to homeschool our oldest for 10th grade. We did, and we learned a lot. Mostly that we are sooooo not home schoolers. In fact, we hate homeschooling. Yes, "hate" is a strong word. So after just one semester, we threw in the towel. Thank God!
Stephen and I were high-fiving as we walked out the door to re-enroll him in school. He went back to the private Christian school he has attended for the last couple of years, where he's got a great group of friends and some pretty amazing teachers, too. They were happy to have him back, and I was happy to send him. It was an all around win.
On Friday, they offered parent/teacher conferences, and even though we were only two weeks in, I thought it was a great opportunity to go and have a face to face with each of his teachers. Ya know, to get reacquainted and make sure that my son was off to a strong start...like the good Moms do. I wanted to know, was he paying attention in class? Turning in homework? Testing well? Was he being a productive participant, respectful of classmates, a good citizen and all that jazz?
I knew the answers would be yes, and they were. My kid is no dummy. He doesn’t want to touch that homeschooling business again, either. I was pleased, and his teachers seemed genuinely excited that he had returned. But there was this one thing...
I sat down with a particular teacher and after just a few seconds of talking about my sons education, he changed the subject. He wanted me to know that he was “concerned” about my sons “personal style”. I sat there in relative silence as he boldly declared the sinfulness of my sons attire.
“You know, Mrs. Wright, his boxer shorts, they...they show above his pants. And we are talking about 3 or 4 inches of boxer shorts if he’s sitting. And he has those holes, those hole things, in his ears. And the hair, those colors in his hair, and it’s all off to one side, all down in one eye. And I get it, I really get it. I understand it’s not the clothes that make the man. But this is just over the top - with the lady jeans and the belt buckles - over the top. And I’m not saying I have a problem with piercings and tattoos, that sort of thing. It’s not a problem for me....I have no problem with any of it. But, Mrs. Wright, what kind of Christian example are we setting here? What is the world going to see when they look at him? As Christians, we should be set apart, should we not?”
*Sigh* Um. Yeah. We should. But I’m pretty sure you and I don’t agree about how, exactly.
You know what? You don't "get it", and you're not "okay" with it. So let's just stop pretending.
See, here’s the deal. I would rather see 3 inches of boxers than 1 inch of ankle. We have a strict “No Floods” rule in our house. Yeah, you heard me. No high-waters allowed! (You wanna come over for dinner? Cool. You’re gonna have to undo that belt a notch or two and let those beige suckers down enough to touch your shoes.) And the kid is 6’3” and growing, by God. And I do mean By God, like God did it. So cut him a break, you’re asking his pants to cover a lot of ground. Oh, and in his defense, we have trained our kids that the waistband of their boxers should be above the top of their jeans at all times. Nothing drives me more nutty than a guy with his pants in his armpits. Sorry, no offense, but I am dead serious about this. Um, those holes are called “plugs”, and his Dad has them, too. Actually, they got them together. Like a father/son bonding thing. And his hair is...his hair. The coolest thing about having hair is that you can do whatever you want to it, think it’s awesome, and realize later that you were an idiot. Remember the 80’s? (Of course you do, you’re still wearing a flock-of-seagulls.)
Hey, I have an idea. How about we set a Christian example that looks like this: We, as Christians, set ourselves apart by giving all people room to be who they are, and in so doing, we learn more about them, which allows us to LOVE them BETTER. That way, I can walk into your classroom and see that you have something valuable to teach my son, even though you appear to be a stuffy, hyper-judgmental Christian. I can look at you and accept that there is, likely, more to you than what you appear to be. And in the same way, you could look at my son and see more than hair and ears and underpants. That way, the next time we sit down like this, we can talk about my son’s character, and I’ll know that you’re talking about his heart.
I’m not asking him to change his clothes, sir, I’m asking you to change your focus.
I didn’t say any of that. But I thought it. I’ll tell you what I told him, and then my son, later....
On a side note, the Spanish teacher was like “You are Stephen’s MOM?!? You look like you could be his sister!!!”, and I was all “Haha, I know, right?”. And that was the end of conversations about appearances for the day, and I kinda liked it, so, all in all, things ended on a high note.
Oh, and please, please, please, do not send me an email telling me how awesome homeschooling is and how I'm missing out and blah blah blah. I really don't care. You love homeschooling, and that's cool. I'm not bagging on home schoolers or homeschooling or anything. Just saying, it's not for us. So, *inhale* take a deep breath... and, *exhale* get over it...