|"The naked baby" is a modern phenomenon.|
My fascination with children's clothing began long ago, even before my first child was born. Of course, like most women, I really love clothes. And so as soon as I learned we had a little boy on the way, I headed out to the stores to shop for him!
"My style" is very classic, I really just look for beautiful things. I think that many women are attracted to beauty and so we enjoy shopping because it satisfies something in our souls.
Dressing the children is still something I love! But life gets ahead of you sometimes and as I became busier I noticed that my babies would often be wearing diapers and t-shirts around the house.
|Queen Victoria as a baby.|
Today it does not seem to be. In fact, I see grown men and women in the coffee shops and at the grocery stores wearing ugly, ill fitting sweat-suits all the time. Expense is not to blame either; this drab clothing often costs more than a quality piece from a high end retailer. Most middle class people have wardrobes full of fine clothing for work. On our own time, we choose not to wear it.
I began to think about this. And I thought about my child's soul. Is getting dressed valuable enough to his soul that it deserves to be prioritized? I answered myself a resounding: yes!
The beautiful ambiance shines forth grace! Imagine the child who has the good fortune to be taken on a marvelous stroll through the park with elegant fountains and pretty cobblestones and towering trees. Or imagine the child who is brought to the street markets like the ones in Florence or Barcelona with the aesthetic displays of vibrant flowers, fine baked goods, colorful produce and intricate candies. Contrast this with the crude secularization and hyper-stimulation of Chuck-E-Cheese, fast food restaurants and places like Walmart. Did you know that beauty produces happiness because the nature of the soul is to delight in excellence? Beauty feeds the soul and it satisfies just as nutrition satisfies the body.
'Form follows function', effectively stifles beauty,
and the valuable aid of social graces.
Why allow the child as old as two or three to run around practically naked, perhaps with only a diaper? Only decades ago, the mother or nurse took time each day not only to dress the baby beautifully, but also to hand feed it nutritiously and to read and play with it calmly and also to perform all the tedious tasks for which today we don't have the patience.
Instead, we marvel at our own "genius" to simply be satisfied with a naked baby. The diaper can be changed easily without the tedious removal and replacement of clothing. This phenomenon is more common in the Summer, but even in cold weather poor children are not dressed because we allow them to stay inside all day. We throw junk food at them to keep them pacified. It is too much work to go on outings and so we run the television shows all day...shows full of ugly images, immoral jokes and unhealthy stimulation of the brain.
This toxic lifestyle produces children who are addicted to massive stimulation and unable to calm down. We turn to more quick "genius solutions"- drugs, stimulants and SSRI medications, behavioral therapy, psychiatric treatment- often because we are too lazy to commit to principle! What a disgusting deterioration of culture! And the child's soul?
We neglect the child precisely because we don't believe in his soul. The immortal soul of the child is much more valuable than his body. The soul is the place where grace originates and flows into our lives. Culture is the human expression of grace, transformed into beauty for our senses to behold. And so we wear clothing to govern Original Sin and our fallen nature. But greater than this, dressing the baby is a way to express beauty and grace. Beauty combats our fallen nature and aids us in our struggle against bad tendencies.
Culture is the human expression of grace,
transformed into beauty for our senses to behold.
There is this new virtue of "efficiency" that our generation loves to brag about. But what has happened to beauty, a quality far more elevated and essential to our spiritual nature? Just as form follows function (to borrow a term from architect Louis Sullivan) in modern clothing, so it does in other areas of culture- effectively stifling beauty, and the valuable aid of social graces.
The "minimalistic" style of today's homes contrasted against the warmth and beauty of homes hundreds of years ago speaks volumes to this fact, as does the eroding of speech and manners, music and art.
What can we do to restore the beauty of culture to our homes, our families and the streets of our towns?
As for me, I will begin by dressing my baby. I always enjoyed it. I even created Pinterest boards of adorable designs! And therein lies the problem; the fast-paced distraction of modern life is just so suffocating to culture.