Saturday, February 20, 2010

Coat of Many Colors

Thanks for all the happy birthday wishes & gender votes & congrats wishes!  
I had a great birthday!!  ... In my late 20's, getting closer to 30!  I don't mind though.  I think the 30s will be good.  I'll have to tell you more about it soon!
But for now, I got to thinking ... so here it comes ...

I just read Jana's post which touched on self-content with body image & how polls show that only 2% of women are happy with their body image.  Shocking, not entirely surprising with a combination of many things we are bombarded with, but still shocking.  As I read her post, the song 'Coat of Many Colors' by Emmylou Harris (originally by Dolly Parton) was playing on my sidebar over there (have you noticed it before?) and that's when I got to thinking ...

(There is a you tube link below, the song on my sidebar playlist, and I have the lyrics shown below too.  How's that for options?)  (If anything, you should watch this video for their sweet '70s style and rad camera fades in and out of faces in the background - you won't regret it - plus the lyrics don't do the message as much justice as the video)

Back through the years
I go wonderin' once again
Back to the seasons of my youth
I recall a box of rags that someone gave us
And how my momma put the rags to use
There were rags of many colors
Every piece was small
And I didn't have a coat
And it was way down in the fall
Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin' every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of
As she sewed, she told a story
From the bible, she had read
About a coat of many colors
Joseph wore and then she said
Perhaps this coat will bring you
Good luck and happiness
And I just couldn't wait to wear it
And momma blessed it with a kiss

My coat of many colors
That my momma made for me
Made only from rags
But I wore it so proudly
Although we had no money
I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me

So with patches on my britches
Holes in both my shoes
In my coat of many colors
I hurried off to school
Just to find the others laughing
And making fun of me
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me

And oh I couldn't understand it
For I felt I was rich
And I told them of the love
My momma sewed in every stitch
And I told 'em all the story
Momma told me while she sewed
And how my coat of many colors
Was worth more than all their clothes

But they didn't understand it
And I tried to make them see
That one is only poor
Only if they choose to be
Now I know we had no money
But I was rich as I could be
In my coat of many colors
My momma made for me
Made just for me

I've always thought of it as an inspiring song - especially as a mom.   I want so badly to be a mom that inspires positive self-esteem and knowledge of each individual's divine nature within my daughters (and future sons too?).  That's what I love about the mom in this song - I don't think she lied to her daughter or gave her false understanding, but just had grounded perspective and saw beauty in everything, and therefore passed it along to her daughter.  I suspect this daughter did not maintain the positive belief about her tattered clothes through the kids' teasing without having learned from her mom's perspective, faith and gratitude on many occasions.  It's not like just this one moment with her mom would build this girl's positive perspective up to this degree.  It takes time after time from a parent or loved one to instill this kind of strength in a little girl - or anyone.  I guess I just got to thinking about the negative messages we send our kids frequently without realizing it ... starting with our own self-esteem and perception of self-image, but also including things like whether our house or clothes or cooking or this or that are good enough.  If we are constantly being self-critical of our own clothes or various things in front of our kids, what do we expect?  They will learn to think all sorts of things just aren't good enough.  That they may not be good enough if they're not wearing or doing the right thing, and in some ways, maybe that certain people or things aren't good enough for them.  

I guess I would like to watch what I say more than ever around Taya and this upcoming baby - as they grow older, so that I don't send the message that if my clothes or hair or tv or phone or car or neighborhood or computer or body or personality OR  ...... aren't good enough to society - or to me, that that surely must mean those things make my daughters inferior.  I don't want them to have that misconception.  That's why I find this little girl's story in the song so refreshing.  

It all starts with self.  So whatever I can do to be positive, (yet grounded), and shed love in every way on my daughters, including a healthy love of myself as a daughter, then I think that's the start.

What are your thoughts? 


paula said...

Did you know that is a book too?

jana said...

I've been thinking a lot about this too, as my girls grow older. Today Talia and I were shopping at Marshalls for some tennies for her and I spontaneously decided to try on 4 cute dresses that we found.

So as I was trying them on in front of her and they weren't fitting right at all, I knew this could be a defining moment for her... Will I angrily cast them off crying how I hate my pudgy this that is sticking out and stupid that! and ugly bulgy this! or will I just crack some jokes and act very casual and nonchalant about them not fitting well. Of course the latter. I really hate shopping for clothes.

But yeah, you really have to watch yourself as a parent. as well as groom them from day 1 to love themselves while not crossing the fine line to them thinking they're the greatest. it's fun though.

The Mama said...

I've been debating back and forth if I should post this publicly or go anonymous... I can comment here without it getting back to my mom, so here goes..

My mom had a horrible self image, as far as I can remember. She was always (and still is) on a diet. As a kid, I was never skinny enough. It's still sort of painful when I think about it, but I'm among friends... She used to tell me horrible things about myself, ingraining in me that I wasn't pretty or skinny and I would never fit in. To this day, I have issues. I can admit it. I don't usually say much around other people, but I still feel like an awkward 11 yr old sometimes.

Why all of these personal revelations?? Well, I just want to agree with you, emphatically agree, that it is so important to do what you're doing. Your daughters (and sons?) will grow up with a healthy view of themselves, as well as a healthy view of others. It actually brings a lot of emotion up in me to think of what you're doing and how I wish so deeply that my mom had done it. You are doing a wonderful job. (You too, Jana.) I really look up to you moms!!

Sara said...

Great topic.

Jessica said...

I love this and have thought a lot about this topic myself. Thanks for sharing your feelings on it! I couldn't agree more.

Caitlyn said...

Very well said, Breanne. Parents (especially moms) can have such a profound influence on their children, for good or bad. It is a task not to be taken lightly, especially in the realm of self image and self esteem. I echo your desires to instill in my daughters (& sons?) the self esteem and assurance to get them through (and hopefully even soar above!)

Emily said...

Breanna, I couldn't have said it any better myself. I never had the greatest self-esteem growing and I feel it would have changed a lot of things for the better so I want so badly to instill in my daughter how lovely she is no matter what! And to encourage her interests. Isn't it amazing how much we may influence our children? What a big responsibility that we must rise to. I love it.

I love your playlist, by the way. I think I'm going to keep you blog window open just so I can keep listening. You're awesome!

Sarita Y. said...

I know, I know: I'm not a mother until my wee one squeezes his furry little conehead out in about 6 weeks from now. But, as my closest friends who are mothers have girls and that experience, I would like to share how I feel about the amazing gift I will have to raise a boy in this world.
When we first found out we were having a boy, I felt a little shaken-- I mean, what do I know about being a little boy? How would we relate and bond? As of about a month or so ago I have felt this pure joy and excitement fill me at the prospect of having such a responsibility handed to me: raising a sensitive, considerate, awe-inspired boy who has a deep love for humanity and the world.
As a woman who has seen and experienced some not so good sides of men and the unfortunate affect of insecure mothers harming their daughters, the opportunity to raise a boy who loves, appreciates, and respects women as wholly equal yet unique, individually beautiful beings is priceless.
Lucky me!
So mothers of daughters, trust that us mothers of the boys your little girls will grow up to trust and, let's admit it, have crushes on, will be with you in solidarity, instilling integrity, respect and an innate regard for woman-(and man!-)kind.

Ann said...

I wouldn't mind at all if you quoted me and had a link to my blog.

I hope all is well with you and yours!

Anonymous said...

IS VERY GOOD..............................