The Carpool Lane – Fall 2016

Late Again! Practical Thoughts for the Drive

We are a few weeks into the new school year—commute number 19 and Polo Shirt Friday number three—and mingled with the upbeat early-morning song on the radio comes the popular refrain, “Why do we have to wear uniforms anyway?”

 

Earlier in the summer, on a quieter and sunnier drive, I heard a report. It said, and I remember distinctly, that our modern brains suffer from something called “Decision Fatigue.” Basically, having too many decisions results in not having enough mental energy for the really important things, like contemplation, relationships, and waking up in the morning. Finally, a syndrome I can relate to.

And it gets better. What is the easiest and most practical way to combat Decision Fatigue? The answer is unexpectedly relevant—wear the same thing every day. In fact, the report seemed to assert that if you want to increase personal and professional success, make this one change. And watch time inexplicably expand and that promotion drop into your lap.

The ramifications are immediately apparent. Buy fewer but tasteful items. If they match, you will always look good. You spend less time shopping, sorting, matching, deciding, deciding, and deciding. And, interestingly, people actually like and trust the stability and authenticity of the new you. They might not come to you for fashion advice, but for some of us, that was never going to happen anyway.

How do I communicate these benefits to my young students who might care more about their classmate’s iWatch than their current academic and future professional success? Who couldn’t care less that the classroom atmosphere is negatively affected when students compete for “Best Dressed”? Who would rather pursue … well … anything than the deeper meanings of Dante?

I think we can all imagine typical teenage responses to the idea of uniforms. “That infringes on my freedom of expression.” Or, “My soul would wilt within me.” Well, if that’s all it takes, I wonder what will happen if you became a parent with multiple children to get to school each day, and run out of time, and then have to wear your pajamas all the way to school? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Someday, I might have time to impart these deeper truths of wardrobe simplicity, of the catharsis born from clear-minded decision making. For we should dress for the benefit of our community, even as adults. Beauty on the outside enhances beauty on the inside, even through fibers woven together to cover our bodies. Someday, yes, but not this day … when I’m busy trying to pass a Volt.

Here’s what you can tell your kids as you drop them off for day 947 of wearing the same thing to school. Uniforms save mom time, money, and stress. You can join the ranks of the fashionistas when those three things are all on you. Oh, and happy Polo Shirt Friday! ACCS_graphic_sm1

While the referenced show’s transcript is currently unavailable, try Googling “wear the same thing everyday” and see the results!

Author: admin

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