True Education


Chapter 28—Relation of Dress to Education

No education can be complete that does not teach right principles in regard to dress. Without such teaching, the work of education is too often retarded and perverted. Love of dress and devotion to fashion are among the teacher’s most formidable rivals and most effective hindrances. TEd 152.1

Fashion rules with an iron hand. In many homes the strength, time, and attention of parents and children are absorbed in meeting its demands. TEd 152.2

With many it matters not how becoming, or even beautiful, a garment may be; if the fashion changes, it must be remade or discarded. The members of the household are doomed to ceaseless effort. There is no time for training the children, no time for prayer or Bible study, no time for helping the little ones become acquainted with God through His works. There is no time and no money for charity. And often the home table is stinted. The food is poorly selected and hastily prepared, and the demands of nature are but partially supplied. The result is wrong habits of diet, which create disease or lead to intemperance. TEd 152.3

The love of display produces extravagance, and in many young people kills the aspiration for a nobler life. Instead of pursuing an education, they early engage in some occupation to earn money for indulging the passion for clothes. And through this passion many young girls are beguiled to ruin. TEd 152.4

In many a home the family resources are overtaxed. The father, unable to supply the demands of the mother and the children, is tempted to dishonesty, and dishonor and ruin are the result. TEd 153.1

Even the day of worship is not exempt from fashion’s domination. The church is made a parade ground, and the fashions are studied more than the sermon. The poor, unable to meet the demands of custom, stay away from church altogether. TEd 153.2

At school, the girls, by unsuitable and uncomfortable clothing, are unfitted either for study or for recreation. Their minds are preoccupied, and the teacher has a difficult task to awaken their interest. TEd 153.3

For breaking the spell of fashion, the teacher can often find no means more effective than contact with nature. Teach students to enjoy the delights found by river or lake or sea. Let them climb hills, watch the sunset glory, explore the treasures of wood and field, and learn the pleasure of cultivating plants and flowers. As they do this, the importance of following the latest styles will sink into insignificance. TEd 153.4

Lead the young people to see that in dress, as in diet, plain living is indispensable to high thinking. Help them see the treasures in the Word of God, in the book of nature, and in the records of noble lives. TEd 153.5

Turn their minds toward the suffering that they might relieve. Help them see that by every dollar squandered in display, the spender is deprived of means for feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, and comforting the sorrowful. TEd 153.6

At the same time the young should be taught to recognize the lesson of nature, “He has made everything beautiful in its time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11. In dress, as in all things else, it is our privilege to honor our Creator. He desires our clothing to be not only neat and healthful, but appropriate and becoming. TEd 153.7