I overheard a conversation once wherein an older gentleman was decrying the decline of respect “these kids today” have for church, as evidenced by their not wearing neckties.  I totally get this man’s concern, and I am certain there is a general downturn in respect among today’s youth (I should know, not long ago I was today’s youth).  But in this situation I wanted to point out to the older gentleman wearing a button down shirt and tie, that 75 years ago a man would not dream of showing up to church in anything less than a suit, and likely a three-piece one.  If fashion is not monolithic across cultures or across decades, then it is very hard to make a hard and fast connection between one’s fashion and his/her level of respect.  The key here, then, is not to assume a person has little respect based solely on the clothes they are wearing; rather, our first step should be to get beyond their fashion choices and seek to know them as a person.  So here's my suggestion for the older gentleman: wear a t-shirt to church, just once for now, so "those kids" won't run when they see you coming to get to know them.  And to "those kids" I say: wear a tie to church, just once for now, not because you like it, but because you want to learn to like your older gentleman neighbor.

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