A Uniform Decision

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A Uniform Decision

  You probably have opinions about school uniforms. I know I did when I was in school (I detested the idea!). This issue recently came up in our family, as our we looked into school options for our daughter. One of the schools required a uniform, and as free-spirited, art-loving,  teenage girl, you can probably guess her feelings about it. But after years working with students from diverse backgrounds, I see the benefits of school uniforms, and I am now very much in favor of them. Would you like to hear the reasons I explained to my daughter? Pull up a chair. . .   First, uniforms level the playing field. I saw firsthand the effects of students not having nice (or even new) clothes. They felt an unspoken but known shame. One January, I learned that some students were too embarrassed to go to school for a few days (or even a week) when all their friends got new clothes at Christmas, and they didn’t receive any. I’m not agreeing that they should have skipped school, but let’s be careful at making value statements about others’ feelings and beliefs, or we could dig into your idols, too. And because everyone wears the same thing, it removes a major distraction from the classroom, and from the child’s life. That’s one less decision he or she has to make each day! Second, having to wear a uniform is a way to serve and love. If it levels the playing field, then it reinforces the fact life isn’t about your individual desires. This is one way to show that what’s best for others is more important than what you want (Philippians 2:3-4). Third, school uniforms can show a student that her identity does not lie in outward appearance. To claim (as many people do) that a uniform doesn’t allow the expression of the individual is anti-biblical thinking. Believing, “My clothing is a part of how I am” is to ignore the truth that who we truly are is only what’s on the inside. We are not bodies, and we are not external ornaments. We are souls that have physical bodies, and that wear physical clothing. Cut off my arm, or put on nice clothes (or ragged clothing), and it doesn’t change who I am. A school uniform will force your child to know and express who he or she is, beyond what he or she looks like. You’ve heard from me, now I’d love to hear from you. What are your thoughts on school uniforms?   “Your adornment must not be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God.”  I Peter 3:3-4

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