As my daughter is getting ready for her Debutante ball, we soon realized that everything seemed to hinge on the dress. We had to find the right style of dress in the right color because everything else seemed to depend on it. From the gloves and shoes, to hair style and jewelry, it all hinged on the dress.
We couldn’t pick out gloves because they had to match the color of the dress exactly. The jewelry would have to match the embellishment on the dress. We couldn’t pick out shoes because we needed to know the length of the dress to fit a proper heel. But as important as the dress was, what it represented was even more important and had been years in the making.
My daughter had been involved in a group called Debutantes in Christ. Every other week for nearly three years she had been meeting with other young ladies her age and learning about etiquette. This included everything from table manners and making proper introductions, to the art of travel and communication with those from other countries and cultures. But each lesson was paired with a deeper spiritual correlate. The young ladies were asked to reflect on perfecting their inner qualities as well. Qualities such as kindness and compassion, tolerance and acceptance were just as important.
With the ball looming closer and closer, I thought of how all of these lessons were culminating outwardly but held significance internally. As each young lady prepares, I hope she is mindful of what each piece in her ensemble represents. Their undergarments are designed to hold their bodies in while protecting them from the often scratchy underskirts of their gown. It is a form of protection and the ladies can be reminded that they always have a shield of protection around them.
The white represents purity, both physical and otherwise. Of course, my thoughts run to the mental aspect of this, including not allowing your mind to be cluttered by inappropriate thoughts. My hope is that they will remember the focus is to be clothed in righteousness, both in terms of right living as well as remembering who their righteousness is.
Unless you are Julia Roberts, you’re probably not going to show up in a wedding gown with no shoes. The shoes remind me of the teaching to have your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace. Shoes are made to walk, and walking in grace and peace wherever you go, is a mark of character. We found that there were multiple kinds of white gloves, including some with a sheen to it while others were matte. We had to match this accessory with the main article of clothing. How odd it would look to have a matte dress with shiny gloves? Our personalities are similar. How odd it is for us to force ourselves to look one way, when deep inside our true nature represents something else.
Now, for the final accessories – the hair, make-up and jewelry. You wouldn’t think of putting lipstick on a pig or giving pearls to swine, so neither would you put on something that does not fit your station. For a formal affair, unwashed stringy hair, bamboo earrings, and theater makeup would all look and feel out of place. So even thinking of the quality and quantity of these items, it must fit both the occasion and the rest of the clothing. Kindness and gentleness always wear well with the accessory of a smile and a calm demeanor. These things are just extensions of the rest of the adornment that my daughter and the other debutantes will be wearing.
Here are some things to consider:
- What qualities do you desire your children to have? In what ways are you teaching them these qualities – formally, informally?
- Do you have any big events coming up soon? If so, how are you preparing yourself or your child(ren)?
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Bergina Isbell, MD is the mother of two children with Special Needs. She is a Psychiatrist and founder of the Autism Alignment Movement, which includes a live interview series of other successful parents and experts who care for those with Special Needs.
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