The country singer Dolly Parton released an original song back in 1971 titled “Coat of Many Colors”. In it she told the true story of how her family was so poor that her mother had pieced together a little coat for her to wear to school. She thought the coat was beautiful and she could not understand why other children made fun of her coat after her mother had so lovingly made it for her.
On a recent trip to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, I toured Dolly’s museum inside Dollywood. This is a picture of the actual coat her mother made.
This song touches me greatly as I too have suffered through the laughter of children making fun of me for a skirt I wore to school. I thought I was wearing the newest fad, but unfortunately I had the skirt turned wrong. The slits were supposed to be on each side, and I mistakenly wore the skirt having the slits to the front and back. I had felt so stylish in that outfit, but the children’s whispers and laughter changed all that. It’s amazing how people find such joy in making fun of others and it is also amazing how long one remembers the laughter.
When my son was in elementary school, I purchased a bargain shirt for him. It was what I (as his mother) thought was a very stylish shirt. When he wore it to a school event, he was told he was wearing a scarecrow shirt. That’s when my son experienced his own version of a coat of many colors.
Even though the years may fade the hurt of these episodes, the criticism of others never truly goes away. It is embedded in us and if we are fortunate, we allow these events to make us stronger and remind us to be more compassionate towards others.
Wouldn’t it be a better world if we all had freedom to wear our individual coats of many colors without others’ judgments?
©2014 So Very Telling