By Glenn Hascall

Once upon a time things were different. People seemed more sensible, yet fashionable. These were levelheaded individuals with good taste.

Take for instance our footwear, I recall wearing red and white checkerboard canvas boat shoes. Now, that got you noticed – especially when you danced or when your grandpa wanted to play checkers. And who could forget the popular rainbow-colored moon boots? Good memories, especially when you stuffed the bottom of your jeans inside the boots – warm feet, warm heart, and huge footprints. Can you say ‘Yeti’?

Now, I’m no curmudgeon, but let me just talk for a moment about glasses. We wore divine pieces of eyewear. Forget subtlety, these bad boys were made of industrial strength plastic in a variety of bold colors and designs. You had black and, ummm, slightly blacker black. They also covered at least one fourth of your face – per lens. Sensible protection.

Hair was another component of good taste that seems to be missing. Why, today people run around with all manner of colored hair – sometimes at such odd lengths as to resemble something attacked by a rabid weed-eater. There isn’t one definitive hairstyle. If you get a bad haircut, who can tell?

I remember when most of the guys wore a mullet and the girls wore shark fins on their heads. I never did figure out how they made their hair do that, especially in wind speeds exceeding 35 mph. Sometimes they resembled a wind surfer during a blizzard or a satellite dish in need of repositioning.

Now, it’s true that most girls wore those leg warmer things over their jeans. I admit that was a little weird, but at least they weren’t wearing dog leashes with matching black lips. Yes, the girls back then got their ears pierced but their noses and belly buttons remained unpunctured.

I was at a store recently and couldn’t believe what I saw. A young man had a ring inside his ear lobe that, over time, had stretched it until a hole 1¼ inches in diameter was clearly seen. It looked like the eye-piece of a telescope. Were his ears bad and required punishment? Bad ears! I can’t take you two anywhere!

What’s with the jeans that droop down four inches past the bottom of the wearer’s feet, becoming frayed and ripped within twenty-four hours of purchase? How about the ones that fit so tightly the wearer can‘t seem to find a shirt that fits either? Well, yes I guess we did have the bell bottom jeans, hiking boots and tie dye shirts back in the day – but they were cool. Right?

Another thing – why can’t guys wear their hats straight anymore? The last time I saw a guy wear his hat sideways was when our neighborhood garbage man turned his so he could see his rearview mirror. Then – practicality. Now – a fashion statement.

Why do some teens insist on having car stereo speakers that rival those found at concerts? You could go to college for what they cost! Ah well, I can’t imagine doing something like that to a Pinto anyway.

It astounds me when I see the differences in young people today. When did I get so old? Wasn’t it just yesterday when I was the radical non-conformist who defied fashion and started new trends? When did I begin to notice all of the changes and find them distasteful?

Probably the moment my daughter was born. Such perfection. She smelled like a little girl. Ten fingers, ten toes, a nose right where it’s supposed to be.

No piercing for my little angel. I wanted clothes that fit her just right and I wanted to protect her head from weed eaters. Rules came to the forefront that demand there be no makeup sessions ‘til she is thirty-five which just happens to coincide with the first opportunity she will have to discuss the matter of dating with me. Of course, that places me at retirement age, which should give me more time to chaperon events for my little girl.

It’s too late she’s married with five grandbabies. Well, OK.

You want to know something even more interesting? Jesus didn’t just come for people who once wore moon boots, leggings, bell bottoms, carnival-like eyewear, mullets, fins and straight hats. Our children are growing up in a different youth culture than we did and many of them will adopt the styles of the day – they may not even necessarily care if we approve.

This exact culture needs to hear about Jesus. Are we willing to care more about our child’s relationship with Jesus than a style we may not particularly like? If so, we may find they outgrow the style faster than we ever imagined possible. Even if they don’t, it is safe to say there is a beauty growing inside that is bound to overshadow the fad – and others will notice a difference.

We shouldn’t reject people because they are different from us. Jesus wants us to love them with His love, so they see Him and want to be more like Him. He came for one reason. He said:

“I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those … who are lost.” (Luke 19:10, NLT)

So, here’s a bit of advice for me and all manner of reformed curmudgeons; rather than judging the rightness or wrongness of a fad, let’s share the reason Jesus came with others – pierced tongues and all.

Glenn Hascall has been a professional writer since 1995 and has writing credits in newspapers, magazines and books, as well as audio and stage dramas. He is also a broadcast veteran and believes that encouragement is a pretty wonderful thing. Perhaps that’s why God does it for you – every day.