Identity Costumes and Easter Dresses
I remember hating to dress up for church as a child. My dress clothes never fit well and those darn clip-on ties were so uncomfortable. I always wondered why we had to dress up for church.
Now fast forward 25 years and now I’m the father of two daughters attempting to help my daughters get dressed for Easter. My mother-in-law had bought some great Easter dresses and on Palm Sunday our girls both wore the dresses to church. But something switched on Sunday morning. Our oldest daughter Anna, who is beginning to search for her identity as a girl in a world of pink and princesses, did not want to wear her Easter dress. My wife Hillary tried to convince Anna to wear the dress but it wasn’t working. In our co-parenting, there are just some times when I can use my “sales and deal making” skills to talk Anna into something that she doesn’t want to do but needs to.
So I stepped in and attempted to convince Anna to wear her Easter dress. She was grumpy and refused to wear the dress. I tried all my deals with her but nothing seemed to catch. Finally she just broke and started crying. You know how you learn your kid’s different cries? There’s the spoiled “I want it!” cry that you attempt to ignore. But there’s the cry from the soul that you must listen to. It was one of those cries from Anna. She just didn’t want to wear the dress and be “girly girl” as she calls it. I backed off and helped Anna pick out a different outfit that she wanted to wear.
Anna is starting the quest that will continue through adolescence and adulthood to find out who God created her to be. My role as a father is to encourage Anna to discover who she is by allowing her to try on different “identity costumes” and see what fits her the best. Right now Anna is trying on the Star Wars costume and running from anything that looks “girly.” She needs to know that I love her unconditionally no matter what costume she is trying out. The last thing I should do is force her to fit a specific mold even it is as simple as wearing a dress to Easter services at church.
How do you help your child try on different “identity costumes?”
Posted on April 13, 2012, in Fatherhood, Personal and tagged dressing up for Easter, elementary school, fathering daughters, girls, identity costumes, identity formation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.