As I watch my darling dwarfs head out the door for various activities, I wonder how I have failed them. I wonder why it is that they can not see the wrinkles in their clothing, the stains, or the small holes. Why it is that they are insistent in wearing non matching colors, non matching socks, and not doing their hair. When did covering up bra straps and wearing slips become a thing of the past. How is it that the dingy gray is preferred over the clean bright whites? When did perfume/body spray become a cover up for needing a shower, and brushing one's teeth is a chore, not a gift to those that we will communicate with during the day....
Is it that there are just too many of them and I no longer find these hills, to be hills that require me to die on? Not really. If I could have a penny for every time in the last 20 years of child rearing that I have had to tell/remind the dwarfs to bathe, well I would not be a millionaire, but a thoushandaire for sure... If I had a penny for each dwarf that has had to re-brush their teeth each morning, sometimes two or three times until they get it right, well again, another thousand or so. I believe that the Prince and I strive to set an great example for them. The Prince and I match our clothing, press out the wrinkles, brush our teeth several times a day, and I even do my hair with regularity, and on the occasion that I do not - I pull it back and throw on a hat.
So the question still remains, how is it easier to wet the toothbrush, place toothpaste on it, swirl it around your mouth swiftly, and then having to repeat those steps at least one time, LESS of a frustration than just doing it right the first time? How is it hard to take five minutes to return your clean and folded laundry to the appropriate spots so that when you remove them for wearing they are fresh and clean smelling AND looking? How difficult is it when you look in the mirror to see that your hair is suffering from a life of it's own that it needs a brush or a hair tie or a squirt of water (or all three) to calm it down. When staring in the same mirror, how is it that you can't see sleepies in the corners of your eyes or the dried toothpaste shmutz in the corner of your mouth? Why do we hold on to pieces of clothing that have long ago expired, yet not only are they being held on to, they are still be worn? Why is anger the first response when they are asked to change? How is it that wearing to work a uniform that has not been laundered since the last shift worked passes for acceptable. How do you not make your eyes water and your stomach sick smelling the overwhelming scent of body sprays that you are intending to do the job of a shower and deodorant in covering up yesterday's scent?
I feel that I am fighting an uphill battle. While I try not to put importance on beauty and outward appearance, I still think that these above mentioned items are part of healthy successful hygiene and set the tone for their day. I suppose that is why I am such an advocate of school and work uniforms. The standard is set clearly before them, and there is little wiggle room. I honestly believe that dressing for the situation, is in part the key to success. Thankfully, it is not every child, every day, but it can be multiple children on one day. Are they lazy, or confused about what "looks" good? Or are they trying to find themselves? Could they be trying to blend in? I just can not seem to figure out how to motivate, or instruct them in the affects of putting your best foot forward at all times. Your first impression, your continued impression, on coworkers, classmates, society; right, wrong or indifferent, is often formed initially on these first impressions.
I am exceedingly grateful that their hearts are kind and that the Lord does not judge me/them/others by our outward appearances. (1 Sam 16:7) I have been after this pile of dwarfs for so long, and they say that repetition is the key, but there are days when I just look at them and shake my head and say a prayer that sometime VERY soon, they will feel motivated to put their best foot forward to start each day. Until then, we keep reminding them, keep instructing them. Never wavering. I am grateful that they do not ALL roll out of the house looking like street urchins at the same time!
I wish I could make this stuff up.