Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The Naked Baby


"The naked baby" is a modern phenomenon. 
"Style is about the choices you make to create the aspects of civilization that you wish to uphold," declared David Bowie, the revolutionary English songwriter.  In actuality, he probably meant the aspects of civilization he wished to destroy.

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.
It's not a crime, I thought.  I had just let the "extra" touches slip when it came to my baby's outfit.  I had excuses: I was busy, sick, tired, behind with homeschooling and besides, their clothes get messy at every meal.  But then, isn't getting dressed a basic priority?

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.
So why the modern phenomenon: the naked baby?
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.


11 comments:

  1. This one is so great and so true. It's hard to fight this battle without being accused of being superficial or trying to impress others.

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    1. I understand, I think it helps to pray to the Angels since they are our guardians and will keep our love of beauty pure.

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  2. I completely agree, but never thought of it in the way you wrote it out. Well said. I love to dress my sweet babies (and older children) in a classic style (if at all possible) and avoid the modern trends/graphics on clothing styles of today.
    Thank you for this insight. I have read your blog for a while, encouraged by our like-minded thoughts on dressing. Have a beautiful day!

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    1. Thank you! I am greatly encouraged by readers like you! So glad you are here!

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  3. Very good post. I believe that making a child accustomed to not wearing clothes, even as an infant, makes them lose body modesty when they are older. It is a sign of civilization for children (and adults) to be well dressed according to their station in life. Tribal societies generally go around half naked. It is very important for parents to make an effort in the area. It is also a good way to fight the evil culture in a world that has gone mad.

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    1. Thank you for the comments...it does seem like the world has gone mad. But it helps so much to reintroduce the beautiful customs of Christian civilization when we come across them. Hope to see you soon, your advice is always tremendously helpful.

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    2. "Tribal societies"? "Civilized"? This is incredibly racist. I am half native american. I am a Metis woman and proud of this. Colonial "civilization" gave us smallpox, killed us, put our kids in residential schools, sexually abused us. That isn't Christian. IT never was. If you read the Bible..Jesus was a Middle Eastern Jew in a tribal society. He wasn't a WASP.

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  4. Oh dear. And why are ye anxious concerning raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. -Jesus

    Right there, Jesus is telling you not to worry about clothing and looking fancy. Being clean, neat, and presentable is nice: but your standards are based on an upper middle class, white, north american norm. Nothing to do with Christianity. Men and women in Jesus' time wore robes. Fashion has changed throughout the decades: men once wore powdered wigs and tights, and this was during very strictly modest times. These norms are not truth.

    If someone sees anything other than innocence in a naked baby, they have serious problems. Babies are pure innocence. Do you think Baby Jesus wore immaculately detailed baby boy clothes? No. He was born in a stable and swaddled. These are all personal thoughts, not faithful ones. And disturbing at that.

    I was highly offended by your comments about SSRI's and children that cannot "calm down". My daughter has ADHD and Autism spectrum. She has always had good parents, a good living environment, outdoor activity, etc. I was a clinical social worker. She sees a pediatrician, psychologist, and has her teachers and supports at school. No one with any knowledge of science or how the brain works would say such a thing. What if you have a special needs child? or know one? I pray you will be kinder and act more Christian towards them then you have here. Yes, our pastor also knows our clinical and spiritual needs for our daughter and would never say such insensitive things in the name of faith.

    I loved and still love dressing up my daughter. It's fun. But i also let her choose, within reason, what to wear. I also am more concerned that she gets to draw, paint, play outside, plant a garden, etc then stay neat and tidy all the time. childhood is so short and they learn through play.

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I find it laughable that you think David Bowie was actually instrumental in ripping up society: please. if your values are that easily shaken that a pop star can totally change them, they weren't worth that much in the first place.

    Remember not everyone lives or parents as you do. I know you are young and have lived a sheltered life. But the world is not all the same. All Catholics are not the same. I went to a strict Catholic school and they didn't have these ideas.

    Christianity is about actions, not appearance.

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  5. Ps. Judging people in the store for wearing a sweatsuit is about as unchristian as it gets. Some people have no money for clothes. Some are wanting to be comfortable. No where does it say in your faith that we cannot wear comfy clothes.

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