“I’m not allowed to wear that Mommy. We can’t wear camo to school. There is a stuffed animal that came to our class and said that camo isn’t appropriate to wear to school.”
My five year old needed to change shirts yesterday after his older brother turned on the faucet while little man’s arm was under the spigot. The long sleeved shirt he had on was soaked up to his elbow just 5 minutes before we walked out the door to school. Sheesh…brothers…
I feel like we’re always running behind for something.
So I grabbed a cute orange shirt with camouflage sleeves and the body of a yeti scribbled in white across the belly out of the clean pile of laundry and thrust it towards him, eager to still make it out the door in time for school.
It was then that he dropped the “not appropriate because the stuffed animal told me so” comment and I felt my face go flush. Frustrated that I needed to find another shirt now because of some stupid rule that as far as I can see doesn’t have anything to do with anything.
Just the day before I sat in carline and marveled to myself how the same little girl day after day wears such short shorts that I can’t ever see them sticking out from beneath her shirt or sweatshirt or jacket. She has long skinny legs and as far as short shorts go, I guess at least they look cute….but she’s the one I worry about when my boys are 15. Because the way I figure it, if she wears them now when her legs are skinny sticks, she’s probably going to be wearing them when she has hips and boobs too. And the world is a hard enough place to learn to be godly without miles of bare legs parading and doing cartwheels in front of developing horomones. Anyhow…I digress. But the point is, I had just the day prior marveled at the allowance of SUCH short shorts (don’t even get me started on leggings and short shirts) and then was slapped in the face with this camouflage rule.
Needless to say, I was kinda fired up. I’m a spicy gal…so these things don’t often just roll right over me unnoticed.
I thrust a gray waffle shirt at my son and raced out the door to school.
As I rubbed a Shout stain stick over the brown and green knees of my boys’ clothes shortly after I got home from drop off, I found myself even more annoyed that their naturally occurring rough play actually even produced camouflage looking stains. I tried thinking of all the reasons it could be banned (because at our previous school it was a rule as well) and the only thing I could consistently come up with had to do with hunters and military wearing camo and that it was being somehow equated to gun violence. A point I personally think is a serious stretch. After starting a load of wash swirling with denim and green grass and brown dirt, I snapped a shot of the offending shirt and sent it to the teacher to get to the bottom of the problem.
A couple of hours later I received a response that said this:
“I have no clue. Perhaps he was passing the buck because it wasn’t his favorite!!!!!!!!!!! I will be interested to hear how this story ends. Ahhhhhhhhhh, motherhood!”
Hmmm…. Clearly somebody lied…and I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Mrs Drake.
When I picked Hudson up from school I casually mentioned that I emailed his teacher to get to the bottom of the “no camo” rule and then asked him what he thought she might have told me.
I glanced in the rearview mirror to see a sheepish look spread across his face and then a muffled voice say “that it wasn’t true.”
“Hmmm,” I said, “and what do we call something that isn’t true?”
“A story.” He was avoiding the word we both knew he needed to say.
“And what do we call a story that isn’t true buddy?”
And there it was. There was the problem said out loud in broad daylight. Uncovered from hiding, but in a place where we could address it and resurrect the truth.
The rest of the story went something about lessons and a consequence that included me choosing my choosy child’s clothing the next few days (a pretty large punishment to him.)
But I’ve been thinking on the whole thing even after I sent him to school in head-to-toe camo today to prove my point to him and to amuse his teacher.
How often do we want (or not want) to do something, and so somewhere in our minds, we create a story…or tell a lie…complete with details of a stuffed animal affirming the thing we want? How often do we confuse the truth of a perspective, or an identity, or a circumstance…and then maybe no one ever catches us in it like I did with my little guy. Maybe we plant an idea (a lie) in our own minds as a supporting argument to what we want, and then unchecked, it eventually becomes a truth that we even allow to define us. Eventually it takes root and shades the way we operate. Unchecked, the stories we tell ourselves to get what we want, become the lenses through which we see ourselves and the rest of the world.
How often have you looked in the mirror and thought “if I just did this…then I’d be pretty. If I just altered that…then I’d be whole.”
We may not be so simply avoiding wearing a shirt our mom handed us one morning, but we sure do make up stories that eventually we even believe ourselves, don’t we?
I know I’m guilty. You?
As adults we don’t have someone emailing teachers or always digging into the deep parts of our hearts to unearth truth and lies. And left unchecked, they can lead us down roads that take us so far from who God says we are, that eventually we might not even recognize ourselves at all.
So today my friends, I want to encourage you…to submit the lies you’re telling yourself to the foot of the cross. In this season of Advent…of walking towards the innocence of a freshly born child, remember the truth of what that child means in your own life. Replace the lies you’re telling yourself with the truth of Chirst so that you can walk in the freedom that was bought. And lest you find yourself believing lies you’ve made up, meditate on the new life we celebrate in this season that brings newness to your life too.
Blessed is the man who makes the Lord his trust, who does not turn to the proud, to those who go astray after a lie! You have multiplied, O Lord my God, your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us; none can compare with you! I will proclaim and tell of them, yet they are more than can be told. Psalm 40:4-5