Fascinating conversations in my Engaging American Culture class yesterday. Pretty sure I learned more from my students than they learned from me. We had a great talk about school dress codes. Students seemed to agree that the actual rules can be pretty silly*, but that they are necessary. They said that if the school were to abandon enforcing dress code entirely it would be a long, slow descent into the obscene for some. But they also said that other students would actually dress more modestly in the absence of something to rebel against.
The discussion then shifted to how Christian schools “promote” Christianity. There were some interesting parallels there. The prevailing wisdom of the students was that if we tried harder to force students to “look Christian,” it might actually make it easier for some students to live Christian lives, but that a sort of rebellious backlash would cause more harm than good. Similarly, if we eased up a little, some students might actually find it easier to live more meaningful, intentional, authentic Christian lives. But the lack of accountability would cause a lot of collateral damage to students who need more time, support, and/or structure. After awhile there would be little left to distinguish us from any other school.
The conversation wound down with one student saying how hard it is to find the right balance. It was very rewarding to hear a student telling me that for once instead of the other way around.
*The person who works out an objective, simple, easily-enforced rule that can keep a high school girl’s no-fly zones covered up while still taking into account fashion and body type is deserving of a Nobel prize.