As I was driving Joseph to baseball practice the other night, I noticed the marquee of a school said, “Pokemon Prom,” along with the date of said event. What?! At least this I find amusing, if not silly. On the crazy side of things, my sister was telling about dress buying for proms at some local high schools. When a girl finds her perfect prom dress she takes a picture and posts it on some social media site. Once it has been posted, no one else is else is supposed to buy it. Are you kidding me? When I was in high school, it was a given someone could be wearing your dress, but it didn’t send anyone into hysterics. Not only that, most of the time we would swap dresses. The only way to assure you were the one and only was to make your own. I have to say my dear Aunt Liz did this for me for both my junior and senior prom. This was all about a money saving venture though - not about individuality. Jes couldn't believe it herself whens she heard it so she talked to a mom from another high school and they told her they have similiar guidelines. I can't imagine this is a formal policy, more of a rule among the kids, but who knows. Regardless, this expectation is out there for them to conform too.
To me this is another blatant example of the world gone crazy and so many not even taking a second to look or question. It is simply absurd to place such importance on a dress for a high school dance. What are we telling our children by going along with this and acting like nothing is amiss? What importance are we placing on a dance that, in the scheme of things, is not important? What undue stress are we putting on our children to be beautiful? The whole thing just boggles my mind and goes against so much I hold to be dear and important and wish to instill to my children. It is the material world and all it’s empty, sad promises on parade.
We as Christians need to be willing to swim upstream. We need to be willing to stand out. We can’t always be seeking to fit in as much as possible and not rock the boat. We can’t be afraid of our children sticking out either. This world is not our home, heaven is our home. How countercultural are we willing to be? How much are we willing to be labeled a Christian and for others to see we live our lives drastically different than most of the world? Are we willing for the world to see that our children are Christian? Do we encourage them to be visible and proud of their faith and belief system? Do we empower them by teaching them about their faith?
You may have seen in the news this week that the diocese of Kansas City is no longer sponsoring Girls Scouts programs in their parishes. To me, this is a great example, on a larger scale, of standing up for your values. Over the years, the national leadership of Girl Scouts has become increasingly liberal. They work closely with Planned Parenthood and tout Margaret Sanger as a hero. There is a great alternative, American Heritage girls. If all churches made a stand and spoke up for what they believed as Kansas City, wouldn’t that be amazing? (http://girlscoutswhynot.com)
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, also known as Edith Stein, was a nun killed during WWII in a concentration camp. She once said, “Those who remain silent are responsible.”
We cannot remain silent. I know this prom dress absurdity is not a huge deal, but it is an example of what this world is dishing out and people are gobbling up. If we don’t stand up against these little things, how can we have the strength and courage to stand up for the larger ones?
This Sunday is Good Shepherd Sunday. We are reminded that Christ is our shepherd. He is the only gate. He tells us: “I am the gate. Whoever enters through me will be saved, and will come in and go out and find pasture. A thief comes only to steal and slaughter and destroy; I came so they might have life and have it more abundantly.”
The options could not be more clear. One - steal, slaughter, destruction. Two - abundant life. What do we want for ourselves and our family? Most all would say option two, of course. However do our actions speak that? Do our words profess that?
I am asked often when people find out our kids don’t have smart phones if they are upset with us. I always tell them they wouldn’t expect any different. They know nothing else. We have explained the dangers of having the entire world in the palm of your hand. It really is a non issue. The point being, we don’t have to be afraid to be different from the vast majority of the world. In fact, if you notice that you are not - that is when you should be afraid.
I will not subject my daughters to the stress of having a perfectly unique dress or teach them that a dress defines them. I will tell them time and again they are precious to God, not because of their outward appearance, but because of their love of Him and neighbor. I hope to instill in my sons that a woman is defined by her love of Christ, and not her love of fashion.
Let us not be silent or we are responsible.
Our Responsorial Psalm for this weekend is Psalm 23, “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.” (This includes the perfect prom dress.) Amen Alleluia! JMJ