I am expecting a baby if everything goes well this summer. I just want to hear if there are any thoughts about teaching and showing the plain way to children. The table is open and I just want to hear what you think about this, is it even possible in today's society to raise children like that?

As both me and my partner wear mainly clothes of a modern make we will buy 'normal' clothes for our children but try buy a lot of things second hand or try to swap them with others. When our child is a baby we will use some more vintage clothes for example from our own childhood but as they grow we do not plan to force them to wear clothes that are different for everybody else's. To me it is not productive and I want my children to understand our way of life without feeling like they do not understand the world around them. I grew up in the mainstream world and I understand it albeit I have partly rejected it but I do not want my children to be completely ignorant about it and instead try to be a counter weight and hope that our example will be a positive one for them.

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My thought would be to provide your child with both options and let them choose day to day...

When I was much younger I was dressed both plain and modern, but as I grew older my parents encouraged me to dress mainstream. In my case, I became more & more uncomfortable dressing plain in public, even though I wanted to...

I think it's great that you do not force them to dress differently than others, so long as they still feel that its ok to be different from others too :)

Elin - Congratulations! The bigger question you are raising is how to bring up spiritually healthy children in an unhealthy world! We have nine children and homeschooled all of them right from the start. They are amazing people and I know for a fact what a difference raising them is relative isolation makes! Now I am a grandma and both of their parents (my oldest son and daughter) will be homeschooling them as well. Homeschooled children are independent, do not feel the pressure of "what others are wearing" etc., and learn to think for themselves. Clothing is must one small issue along these lines you will face and don't assume that encouraging them to "be like everyone else" is the best. I don't know about the laws in Sweden but we would never recommend any other way of raising children!

It is a wonderful adventure! May God bless and protect you and your baby.
Barb

Congratulations Elin!  I don't have children so I'm going to speculate, but I don't think raising your kids differently from other people is going to injure them at all. Of course I am surrounded by people who are doing that very thing: Plain folk, home schoolers, Muslims, etc.  You should get in touch with Isabel -she's doing this very thing; raising a plain baby (She is Quaker Jane).

Paula

First of all, Mazel Tov!  Prayers to your pregnancy, may it be a healthy, happy event in your life.

With my children, I have raised them with my beliefs, explained why I dress Plain for worship, and leave them with what I have taught in hopes they will find this useful in finding their own paths.  The world will have no problem branding our children with their 'dress code', but it is the gentle, loving messages they will cherish.

Love and Light, Caroline

Thanks for your gratulations and your input.

Homeschooling is by virtue of our new curriculum very hard, something I even as a teacher am very critical about. I think that most people do not understand that there are many pros to it and think it is just about oversheltering your children. However, neither my partner nor me feel the least bit drawn to doing it ourselves and being a teacher I am also very aware of the possible downsides with homeschooling so our choice will be a good school and preschool for our children. There are two Christian preschools in my town and I am considering one of them once the need arrives and if we can get in to it, I hope it would be able to give my children a sense of not being alone in being Christians. School will depend on what our child is like and in what area we will live once it is time for school. There are no Christian schools and I will probably opt for a regular public school as I do not think that most of the free schools (government funded independent schools) are any better than the public schools.

I plan to work after my maternity leave (I will probably be off work for a year) and then my partner will be at home for about the same amount of time so we will be able to spend time with our child despite working. I might also work part time depending on the economy of our family once it is time to go back to work. At the moment my partner is unemployed but looking for work and I am working fulltime in adult education. Our ideal life involves both of us working part time and staying with our kids and each other the rest of the time. We are open to daycare once the child is about two. We need money to live and we both want to have a lot of time with each other and our child and not have one parent away from the family so one being  a stay at home parent is probably not an option. We believe that both parents are equally important and we want our children to see that both men and women are nurturing and loving and can be 'soft' parents and that both men and women can work and earn money, both providing for the good of the family.

We believe in teaching our kids by example and by us being important in their lives but I do not and I do not think my partner thinks that the world is unhealthy. There are unhealthy elements for sure and these we hope to show a way around but there are many good things as well. We believe in the possibility of change and hope to show to our children that we  can do something about bad things and that we can keep and protect the good things in life.

Like you Paula we live in an area which is quite mixed and I am glad that my children will see different people and different life choices and even other religions close up. We have thought about moving to the country side and although I would love a house of my own instead of an apartment and to be able to garden my one big objection is that my children will probably lose this diversity. Instead, they would probably be the only ones that are different instead unless we would move to a village with lots of Christians. That I do not want either, these small communities are often about not just being Christians but the right kind of Christian and I suspect that a Quakerinspired, quite liberal Christian WITH a head covering and long skirts like myself would not be the ideal match for such a place...

It is true in Sweden as well that clothes without bling are generally more expensive but there is also a pretty good second hand market for them (especially online) so people can access them for less if they are lucky. Regular stores are a bit like what you describe at least for older kids but for babies and small children you can still find acceptable clothes. I must say I dread the day my child is schoolage and older because then it is going to be tough to find acceptable clothing and probably even harder to get them to wear them... At that age they are big enough to give their input as well and I assume it is going to be some negotiation then. However, by that time they are also old enough to understand some of the motivation behind why we as parents make the desicions we do.

I anticipate comments about my children's upbringing, but I think that it will be the fact that they will be raised Christian that people will find the most troubling. They think that will mean that they are indoctrinated and never get to meet someone who is not part of the same congregation. I know that is true for some, but not for me, not even close. I don't think my children will be so plain that they look strange or so and thankfully there are other parents that are against too much cartoon figures, wearing all pink if you are a girl, violent and questionable messages on clothes so hopefully they will find someone who dresses similar to them if this will be a problem.

I plan to use the same principals in choosing clothes for my children as I do for myself. My partner is naturally plain, never having any interest in clothes and while looking plain he has no religious conviction behind his clothes although he is religious.

I will choose single color clothes and patterns that are woven not printed. Clothes should not be too fitted or in other ways impractical. They should not be too ornamented or display wealth. I also want little girls to be as free as possible from wearing clothes that are cut to look like women's clothes because I see that as part of oppressive beauty ideals. By that I do not mean that they should not have dresses, I mean clothes that on a woman would for example display her breasts or behind. Boys clothes should not just be tough and I would encourage boys to wear more colorful clothes as it has been shown that boys in say a red sweater instead of a black one get more attention from adults and are expected to be less violent and tough. I see the evil in boys not being given access to their full emotional range and every reaction being interpreted as violent and angry when a girl would also have say sad, disappointed or perplexed. I believe that in order to raise someone to pacifist views they must have a sound emotional life.

We're not plain. But we do try to be responsible in our clothing choices. We stick to colors that coordinate easily, and buy mainly from thrift stores, or high quality fair trade. We do the same when buying our children's clothes. Don't compromise your ethics when you dress your children. Make sure you explain why you make your choices. As they get older gradually give them more choices, within your moral framework. Talk to me again in a few years when I have teenagers though. We'll see how it goes.

Elin Hagberg said:

I anticipate comments about my children's upbringing, but I think that it will be the fact that they will be raised Christian that people will find the most troubling.


Christianity isn't the dominant religion in Sweden?

Yes and no. Many people belong to the old state church but most people are usually extremely secular and it is seen as rather peculiar that I go to church and have a living faith which is important in my life.

Many people are also atheists, out of which some are rather aggressive and rude towards any kind of theist really. I used to be an atheist myself but I was always respectful of the fact that other people did not share my views and I have always had Christian friends.

Most of my family members are atheists and I assume some of them have views about me being a Christian but we do not discuss this. It is not a pink elephant, it is just respect for each other and the fact that we know we will not agree so why bother discussing this when there are other things we all want to talk about. We are very different me, my sister and three brothers but what I really appreciate is that we have this love for each other.

Some, mainly atheists see any religion or religious teaching of children as harmful and as brain washing. I have no intention of brain washing my children but I will teach them what I believe and how I see that Christian faith can and should play a part in life. Would they choose another path they will always be welcome at home and loved for who they are, I see no other choice as a Christian and a human.

Mackenzie said:

Elin Hagberg said:

I anticipate comments about my children's upbringing, but I think that it will be the fact that they will be raised Christian that people will find the most troubling.


Christianity isn't the dominant religion in Sweden?

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