My wife and I once had the privilege of sorting through no less than 25 Hefty bags of clothes that had been owned by a girl of about seven years of age--her parents were "done having children," and graciously let us take a look to see what we might want, as they had been given many of these clothes, and wanted to pass the blessing on to us.
Or was it a blessing? We ended up taking about half a bag, and suggesting that they would do well to take the rest to Goodwill. The vast majority of the clothing was, charitably speaking, junk. Yes, our benefactors had gotten things cheaply, but was it thrifty?
Probably not. Consider for starters the fact that this pile of clothes took up most of their (admittedly small) living room--those clothes without ever being paid for had cost that family about $10,000 worth of their home. It's also probable that from time to time, all those clothes had harbored some kind of critter or other that had sickened some member of the family. And the way those clothes fit just might have hampered their play as well--let's say "hi" to obesity and high medical bills.
Pretty expensive free clothes, don't you think? No, wait; it gets worse. What does it teach your child when you dress him, or her, in clothes that are too tight in some areas, too loose in others, and expose too much leg, one's belly, and so on?
You train them to be immodest, of course, and in doing so, you also train them to interact with those who use immodesty as an excuse to take other liberties that our grandparents were warned about. Thankfully we're not talking about a one to one correlation of poor clothing with teen pregnancy or something like that, but I have to wonder....is there yet another cost that dwarfs the others?
Cheap clothes, but possibly very, very expensive. Well-made but "expensive" clothes are seeming more and more thrifty.
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