Twice a year it would arrive at our front door … a huge box of hand-me down clothes from Mary Anne. She had two girls then a boy. I had two boys then a girl. I offered to send her my boys’ clothes in exchange, but she wisely decided to pass. My boys were rough on clothes.
It was like Christmas for Jill to dig through the box. She would lay things out in piles by color then pick out her favorites. One fall some pink, fluffy moon boots were in the bottom of the box. They were tired looking, but Jill thought they were fabulous and wore them all winter, into the spring, and with her shorts in the summer. I suppose she was establishing her own fashion trend long before UGG boots were popular.
When Travis was seven we gave him a Denver Bronco’s jacket for Christmas. The next fall, when it was time to pull out coats, he insisted it wasn’t too small even though the sleeves were three inches up his arm. We finally realized why he didn’t wan’t to give it up. It was his first jacket that wasn’t a hand-me-down. It was his own.
Some things are just best when they’re your own. Recently a Mom asked me what that I thought was key in raising confident children. I told her I felt kids grow up confident and comfortable when they know why they believe what they believe. Things are right and wrong because they, for themselves, know what is right and wrong, not just because Mom and Dad or youth leaders or friends say so. They need to understand and own their own beliefs first hand.
Obviously, parents need to instruct, guide and direct kids in establishing a firm foundation, but I think our goal should be to send young adults out into the world confident and carrying a clear moral compass that’s not a hand-me-down, but their very own. They need to know what they believe and why they believe it.