So, I'm not gonna lie, I’ve totally lost my mojo for this story. I’m just over it. Sorry.
It’s just that last week was weird. There was the whole “your blog is too dirty” thing, and we had not one, but two, of our perfect, angelic kids birthdays to celebrate, and things between El Chupacabra and I were just...funky, and I was reading Sylvia Plath (and that just messes with my head). The whole week was weird and long and I just wanted it to end.
But what kind of person tells half of a story and then just leaves the rest hanging, right? That’s just a lame thing to do...
So, when we left off, I was getting ~ yet another ~ lecture from a well-meaning, but socially boxed Christian. So an ordinary parent/teacher conference turned into a lecture about personal style from a guy in pressed dockers and loafers, and a tie (she says with disgust). While he discoursed the “origens of ‘sagging’”, I was putting together an ugly little diatribe in my head (jeez, my life is starting to feel like Groundhog Day). When he was finished, I gathered my things, thanked him for his time, and then...
...I said nothing. Well, actually, I told him thank you again, and said that I would “speak with my son”. (I use phrases like that when I want to seem really, like, parental and stuff.) And then I left.
Do you feel like I rolled over? Are you disappointed?
Here’s the thing, I 100% disagree with EVERYTHING he said. While he was talking, I adjusted my nose ring a couple of times. It was my subtle way of reminding him of exactly who he was talking to. I mean, who does he think suggested the multi-colored hair, who does he think bought the gauges and the skinny jeans and the boxers that show? Who does he think explained the concept of the asymmetrical mullet in Spanish to our hair stylist? Duh. I’m the Mom. If I disapprove of something my kid is wearing, it’s gonna change. Real quick. So obviously, I approve.
Honestly? I love my son’s style. I love that he has the huevos to wear what he wants, to be himself, to expose himself to the criticism of kids, and adults, who are uncomfortable with others, or other Christians, who are different.
There are two principals we’ve tried to instill in our kids, two things we want them to bring to the forefront of the Church as they step into their roles as leaders. They are the two things we believe will help to bring unity to a body that is disjointed and divided.
I wrote about this a looong time ago, here. And I believe it holds true to this circumstance.
When I “spoke with my son”, I tried to remind him that “everyone” means every one. Even the ones who can’t see past your pants. If he wants to be an ironic hipster, fine, but his responsibility, when he walks into his conservative teacher’s classroom, is to live at peace with that guy. And to do so respectfully. If he can do that, he gets to be the one that breaks down a barrier, the one that destroys the wall dividing the “good” Christians from the “bad”. He gets to do what his teacher can’t, and that is to say, “I value you, even though I disagree with you.”
And the other is from Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, where he writes: “I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some.”
The truth is, If I were in the business of changing peoples minds, I would use this same verse to defend my son’s position to his teacher. A guy for whom, it would seem, there is zero chance of connecting with the tattooed, pierced, bed-headed fashionistas that God, Himself, is jealous for. But that is not my business. My business is to raise kids who understand that sometimes, we have to cast off our personal preferences, in order that others might see Jesus in us. And sometimes, we have to do that for other Christians, because when the Bible says “everyone” it means “everyone” and when it says “all” it means “all”.
So, here’s what we did. Flesh plugs for the ears during the school day. A hoodie around the waist (and over the boxers) during this particular class. And, with the approval of the school principal, the hair went from purple and teal to a shockingly dark, and perfectly emo, black (which is allowed because black is a “natural” hair color). But, above all, he should be carrying himself with respectful submission to those in authority over him. You know, like Jesus.
And hopefully, by doing so, those in authority will begin to see that Jesus is residing under that black hair and inside those skinny jeans. Maybe they’ll see that there is a place in the Body of Christ for different types of followers, so that WE, the Church, can be all things to all people so that WE might save some.
Oh, and by the way, my kid looks pretty cool with black hair, and the excessive chemical treatments have given it the coarseness to really stand up like crazy. So there's that. FTW!
Wow. I’m really glad I finished this. I feel better. :)