Dressing for the Occasion

April 2, 2010 7:54:14 AM PDT
At seven-years-old, my son Nicholas has become somewhat of a fashion plate.

Nicholas enjoys picking out his clothes for school and has developed a certain style. It's amusing to me because when I was a kid, certainly Nicholas' age, jeans and a tee shirt, or maybe a sweat-shirt were my clothing of choice.

Recently when it was picture day at Nicholas' school, he asked me if he could wear a shirt and tie. He wanted to look his best. My initial reaction was to talk him out of it, but I realized that this was important to him... that he wanted to dress like Dad - he wanted to look special.

That was just the first of many occasions Nicholas has wanted to - in his words - dress like a man.

When we go to church he looks forward to wearing a suit and tie, even though most of the worshippers prefer to dress very casual. I've noticed is that when Nicholas is dressed up, his demeanor is different. His self-esteem seems higher. He seems more confident and there's nothing wrong with that.

Child psychologists say a youngster's sense of self starts to develop between 4 and 7-years-old. They become more aware of how they look and how others regard them. My initial fear about Nicholas wanting to wear shirts and ties - especially to school - was that he didn't like how he looked or perhaps he was being teased about his appearance. But the more I talk to him, the more I realize he is paying me a huge compliment - he wants to look like dad.

I've always felt it was important to look your best in any setting - not to necessarily impress anyone but to carry yourself with confidence and purpose.

Without knowing it I've somehow sent this unspoken message to my son.