I just realized the mercy of God in the physical growth of my three girls (fourth on the way). About once a month one of my two older daughters will come down the stairs Sunday morning in one of their favorite dresses only to be sent back upstairs to change into something more appropriate. The dresses are not inherently inappropriate, it’s just that my daughters are growing up and the hemline has inched up a little too high.
This is never a happy occasion, but I give thanks to God for it. It’s not happy because it’s hard to have one of your favorite dresses become contraband, or worse, become a “gift” to your younger sister. But I give thanks to God for these occasions because it allows me to set patterns today which will help me draw lines in the future. My older daughters (9 and 6) know that when a dress becomes too short, it is time to abandon it.
The interesting thing for me to think about is this. While at this young age, my girls are only thinking, “But this is my favorite pink dress! Mommy bought it for me! You yourself told me that you liked it and that you thought I looked pretty in it!,” whereas when they grow older the issues will not be the same at all. Then it will be, “But that’s how it’s supposed to look!” And I’ll have to say, “And that’s not acceptable, take it off.”
But here is the other mercy, its no easier to tell a crying six-year-old that her favorite pink dress is no longer suitable than it will be to tell an upset teenager that her dress was never appropriate. So I’m getting the training I need today to deal with the issues that will come along later. If I back down with my crying six-year-old, what makes me think that I’ll be able to handle my sixteen-year-old?
I once heard someone say about little girls in swimsuits, "Be careful what you let them wear now, it'll be hard to make them change later." I agree.
Well, the Lord is so merciful and wise to create bodies which mature at the same rate as the mind. All these little lessons instilled in our youth help alleviate major headaches later on.
Above: Okay, this photo is several years old, and taken by my cousin Archie, but it's still fun.