In a recent article I reviewed Jennifer Scott’s first book Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Secrets I Learned While Living in Paris- Review and discussed some French wisdom for prioritizing the female body that Jennifer shares. This book has really gotten me thinking about the counter culture sect in our society that is becoming mainstream, that projects the idea that any appearance in public is acceptable.
During my drive home last night from work, I saw a minimum of 4-5 individuals wearing their pajamas (and some even in slippers) walking down the street like it was a perfectly normal normal wardrobe choice. None of these people appeared to be without means. These were not down on their luck homeless individuals sitting on the street corner. These were people just carrying out their daily lives, that were not bothered at all to be seen going about in their bedroom clothing. One woman even had soft fleecy, full length pants and keep in mind it is summer time in Texas.
Why is this becoming the norm in our society today? Why are we teaching our kids, as a culture, that we have no priorities on personal appearance. It isn’t just wearing bedroom clothing on the street that is a problem. It is much more deadly than that. According the the Centers for Disease Control many of the leading causes of death in the US are caused by obesity. Over 1/3 of the US is not overweight but actually obese and this trend is costing about $147 billion a year in extra medical costs. This number was estimated in 2008 and I would guess is much higher now.
I have seen a recent trend in the morning news of restaurants starting to address health concerns by making plans to offer reduced additives in their food. I applaud these restaurants for taking the initiative to make the general public more health conscious. But is it enough?s I haven’t heard any restaurants addressing the “super-size everything” concerns. If you have less artificial preservatives in your chicken but are still encouraging customers to consume more nutrient-lacking calories in one meal than they will burn all day, are you having responsible business practices?
I think there are so many similarities in today’s “free market economy” to the feudal system of days past. The wealthy are becoming even more wealthy on the backs of the poor and middle classes. They are selling a product that they know contributes to multiple health disparities because they can make a quick buck.
As a culture we cannot blame all our problems on the fast food industry but we can make ourselves aware of the various factors that are contributing to our poor health and general lack of prioritizing our personal appearance.
As I have mentioned previously I had the privilege in early 2010 to go to Italy for 8 days. I toured Rome and Florence and during more than 1 week abroad I did not see one obese person. Period. Never! What does that say about other culture and ours?
I will tell you honestly, I have struggled off and on with my weight my entire life. I am bringing these issues up because I want a better life for my daughter. I want to teach her to enjoy food and appreciate it. I don’t want her to have an overindulgence/guilt ridden cyclical relationship with food. I talk to girls at work and what most of them talk about is wanting to loose weight. What if we showed a better way to our children than we have had for ourselves?
How could we change our culture in the next generation if we taught our children to take pride in their heritage, their personal appearance, and their health? As parents we are provided with a unique opportunity to make our little corner of the globe a little bit better. And how to we do that? By teaching our kids a new way! It has to start when they are very young. Prioritize relationships and experiences over consumption. Teach them to eat for satiety not overindulgence. Make helping them pick out outfits to enhance their personal appearance an important aspect of daily planning.
While our personal appearance should never be our identify, we also don’t want to limit our children’s opportunity in life by teaching them sloppy habits. Don’t let your children’s appearance define them to others. As Christians, love is shown to us through answers to prayer. How does God show that love to us? Sometimes He shows love by saying yes but he also says no at times. I can tell you I don’t have everything figured out about parenthood FOR SURE! But I have figured out that sometimes being a good parent means choosing to say no in the best interest of the child.
Helping our kids learn to choose foods wisely and dress appropriately is not always the popular thing but we are preparing them for success in life. We are helping them establish routines that will open doors for achievement later in life and possibly even help them avoid debilitating diseases. Life is hard but prepping kids for for the future and teaching them self-control at an early age is just a small thing we can do as parents to make their lives just a little bit easier! And who doesn’t want that for their kids?