Sunday, July 15, 2012

Called out from the pulpit

Have you ever heard your preacher call out your name during a sermon? It can certainly get your attention! :)

This morning Tim was preaching from the story of Abraham. He read what the angel of the Lord said to Hagar:
“You are now with child
    and you will have a son.
You shall name him Ishmael,
    for the Lord has heard of your misery.
He will be a wild donkey of a man;
    his hand will be against everyone
    and everyone’s hand against him,
and he will live in hostility
    toward all his brothers. ”

Then Tim asked, "Janay, has anyone ever asked you to embroider that? 'He will be a wild donkey of a man'?" That got quite a chuckle, as he made his point that this really wasn't the best news to receive about an expectant child. And no, no one has ever asked me to embroider that. It's certainly not a prophesy to brag about or advertize. :)

But it got me thinking... there sure are a lot of phrases you find on children's clothing that really aren't things I would choose to embroider. Thankfully in the last five years I have not been asked to do something I am uncomfortable with. I'm sure the day will come, but I do plan to stand my ground and decline. 

I personally do not like phrases like "Drama Queen" or "Here Comes Trouble". While they may be true ;) they aren't behaviors I want my children to exhibit, so why would I glamorize them? 

How about "Future Diva" or "Lock up your daughters"? Do you really intend to raise a self-absorbed girl focused on her appearance? A son who is disrespectful to women?

"That's it -- I'm calling Grandma!"  What exactly does this mean? That a child has had enough parental discipline (which he probably deserved) and is heading to someone who will give into his every whim? Eh.... again not an attitude I want to endorse. (And thankfully my kids don't have a grandma like that!)

For twins, instead of "Double Trouble", how about "Double Blessing"?

When my friend asked me to make a "Future World Strongest Woman" shirt for her daughter to wear to her husband's strongman competition, I was delighted to create the design. I enjoy items that promote personal achievement or celebrate people we are proud of. I'm not so thrilled with phrases that brag, and was thankful she didn't ask for something like "My dad is stronger than your dad." (Although in this case it would be true -- he ended up winning, hee hee...) 

One of my greatest pet peeves -- designs that belittle education. Just this week I saw a painted item that said:
  2 cute
+2 do   
Oh, don't you know that my face instantly got red!! I thought my heart was going to pound right out of my chest. I won't even launch into all the myriad of reasons why that is horrible.

But sometimes it's very subtle. For example, last summer as Annaliese and I were selecting a design for her back to school shirt, we found one in which we both liked the frame, but I wanted to swap out the text for something else. I wasn't thrilled with "homework" being crossed out and a big check mark next to "recess" & "lunch". I explained to her that she is a good respectful girl, that teachers assign homework for a reason. Even if she doesn't like it, she should be respectful towards her teacher's choices. A shirt with homework crossed out looks like complaining or rebellion. I was expecting an "Oh, mom...." rolling of the eyes type of response, but she surprised me. Instead she said, "Oh, I would be a seed of discontent."
YES! We don't want to be a seed of discontent! I want Annaliese to encourage her peers to do their best, even with the words on her clothing! So we swapped the text to "Second Grade" and it turned out way cute. :)

 ... so, not your typical Stitched by Janay blog post, huh? There's not even a photograph! Just some of the thoughts that have been rumbling around in my head. Please know that my intention is not to judge the choices others make in dressing their children, but to simply offer my point of view. To challenge you to think carefully about what we glamorize and promote. To my friends, please continue making custom requests, just don't be offended if I say no for personal reasons. I want my projects to be encouraging, not degrading. To honor God. 

And please hold me accountable! If you see a future project of mine that doesn't stay in line with my goals, call me out! But preferably in private, not from the pulpit. ;)

9 comments on "Called out from the pulpit"

Bekah on July 15, 2012 at 9:40 PM said...

I have seen shirts for girls that talk about how they won't do math. One said "I'm too cute to do Algebra so I make my brother do it". It drives me crazy. I have a BS in Math and I'm going to raise my daughter to not only believe that she can do it but be proud of the fact that she can. You are absolutely right about all these sayings, even though they sound cute and harmless they are perpetuating a stereotype that girls are supposed to be cute instead of smart. It needs to stop.

You hit the nail right on the head with this post. Thank you so much!

6blessings on July 15, 2012 at 9:50 PM said...

Thanks for sharing:) I have seen a lot of sayings that don't sit well with me either. Thanks for addressing this and taking a stand.
I enjoy your blog and have gleaned a lot from it.

Sabrina on July 15, 2012 at 10:13 PM said...

Janay I think this post is spot on. You will be glad you wrote it later on, b/c I am sure as your kids and their friends grow and develop there might come times when you will need to remember these wise words. I have never been a fan of "sassy" T-shirts and some of the ones for adults are down right rude. Your work is already a blessing to others:)

Anonymous said...

I agree 100% with you, Janay! What a great post! There are so many children now who have no respect for anyone other than themselves, but they are being raised that way by their parents.


Lydia on July 16, 2012 at 7:51 AM said...

Wow! Excellent post and thank you for being honest and outspoken about such a disturbing trend. It is such a relief to know I'm not alone in my aversion to these.

Tiffany on July 16, 2012 at 11:38 AM said...

I agree with everything you wrote here, Janay. Thank you! And thank you for bringing up such great kids who understand it, too!

Just for an added perspective, from the point-of-view of a childless woman who would love to have a child of her own but doesn't, I want to add that I am always incredibly irritated by slogans on kids' clothes that seem to be the parent advertising his or her complaints about the child (like the "double trouble" or "drama queen" examples you noted). Whenever I see those types of slogans that are meant to be cute, I always feel a little frustrated that the parent is choosing to complain about parenthood. OF COURSE kids are goign to drive their parents crazy eight-dozen times a day! But please don't expect me to feel sorry for you that you have a "drama queen" when, really, you should be thankful that God entrusted you with a precious life to love, instruct, and guide. It just feels like ingrateful, adult-whining to me.

I'm not sure if that made sense or not, but thanks for letting me vent it here, anyway!

daniKate designs on July 16, 2012 at 8:20 PM said...

I love that you wrote about this. I feel much the same way. We got a onesie with "If Mama says no, ask Grandma" as a gift, and I did not care for the sentiment at all. Thankfully my mother and my MIL both respect that my husband and I have the final authority with our kids and don't have that attitude.
I have tried to be particular about my daughter's wardrobe, but on reflection I can see we've had two offenders. One was a shirt that said "Sassy". It was a hand-me-down and I did let my daughter wear it around the house. I feel some regrets about that as I have the cutest picture of her wearing it, and I feel like I need to explain to everyone who sees it that we don't allow her to be disrespectful. I think I will photoshop that out... The other is a shirt that says "Am I cute or what?" I think my mom bought it and I felt like it was just a proud grandma thing so I didn't think about it too much. It might need to be rotated out of the wardrobe though...
Luke 6:34 says "...For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks." Just as what comes out of our mouths reflects the state of our heart, the statements we wear show it's condition as well!

Mary on July 16, 2012 at 10:48 PM said...

I agree with you 100%!

Janay on July 19, 2012 at 10:07 PM said...

Ladies, I'm sorry I've taken a few days to reply. Your comments mean so much to me!

Bekah, I too have a BS in Math, and agree with everything you said 100%!! If I ever dance the line of my own rule, it will be for a "Smart Cookie" type of design. :)

Laurie, it is my pleasure to blog -- to inspire, and also to promote the digitizers that make my visions possible!

Sabrina, you are so sweet! And you are right. One of the main reasons I hit "publish" was to hold my future self accountable.

Lynnell -- current parenting trends (or rather the lack there of) is a whole other issue... wow. :) One of the things I deleted from my laundry list, because it was so long, was designs that disrespect authority (teachers, law, government, etc).

Lydia -- I'm glad I'm not alone, too! There are crafters that will stitch anything for a sale. That's not me.

Tiffany, well said. And thank you for the reminder -- we always need to be mindful of the hearts of those we encounter.

Angie -- YES. That scripture is perfect. And I really appreciate your follow up blog post Sassy or Not? FANTASTIC!

Mary, those words are music to my ears. HA! ;)





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