First Day Look: Focusing on What Really Matters

Little Peggy Weber as a student

Little Peggy Weber as a student

Editor’s note: I’m happy to welcome this guest article from Peggy Weber to help us celebrate the “back to school” season in style! LMH

I always loved back-to-school shopping with my children.


Our shopping trips meant visits to the paper, pen and marker aisles. We looked at backpacks and maybe got a new lunch box. Finding shoes was probably the most stressful part of our trip.

We were lucky. My daughters wore plaid jumpers and skirts from kindergarten until they headed off to college. For my son it was navy or khaki pants!

We never had to deal with the question being posed by J.C. Penney’s most recent ad campaign: What is your first day look?

The more I watch this commercial, I admit, the more irritated I get!

The ad seems to imply that if you have the correct “look” on the first day of school you will define yourself and be a success.

Their campaign also seems to be targeted at younger children.

Imagine the stress some sensitive third-grader must feel as he or she wonders if they have the right look for the beginning of a new school year.

The Weber children -- Kerry, Matthew and Elizabeth -- head back to school

The Weber children — Kerry, Matthew and Elizabeth — head back to school

I have found myself talking back to my television screen and chastising J.C. Penney for putting such ridiculous pressure on children.

I write proudly that I have never been in style. If I am wearing something that is current it is by accident or the fact that turtlenecks and sweaters are “in” again.

However, I feel for any little one who is heading off into a world where they not only have to learn math and reading but they also have to wonder about their “first day look.”

It would be nice if we could run an ad and say to our world that skinny jeans and bright running shoes are fine but they will not make you happy. They do not matter.

To quote soon-to-be St. John Paul II:

“It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your heart your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.”

It is a difficult lesson for young people – and adults!

Let’s help our children turn their focus away from clothes to more important things.

And let’s pray for those beginning a new school year to have a fruitful and blessed experience.

Peggy Weber is the mother of three adult children – Kerry, Matthew and Elizabeth. She is a reporter and producer for Catholic Communications for the Diocese of Springfield.

Copyright 2013 Peggy Weber


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