Latest Essay

Subscribe now to receive new weekly essays by email!


Tee Shirts - Almost any decision we make conveys something of our values.

Tee Shirts


Those who choose to wear Tee shirts that contain distinctive logos or messages would seem to be expressing an opinion, making a personal statement, providing a cause for conversation or perhaps offering a bit of entertainment for those who see them. Unlike tattoos, tee shirts can be changed according to one’s impulses. Because they seldom convey a significant declaration of the wearer’s life-stance, most tee shirts are viewed and treated as mere decorations. 

Even though some messages on “tees” are quite specific in their content, the fact that they can be worn one day and not the next tends to minimize their power to communicate anything of significance. If someone seriously intends to demonstrate in public a true personal commitment, it would better accomplished by means of a universally recognized symbol that would rarely be taken lightly. For example, the ashes on a person’s forehead at the beginning of Lent, even though worn only for a short time, carry an implicit message that the wearer is willing to be known as an active participant in a Christian religious ritual.  

We all have some deeply held beliefs about life, relationships and transcendence which cannot be worn in public one day and exchanged for another the next day. We do not often convey in words or in symbols that which moves most deeply within us, because our profoundest values cannot be put into a witty saying or a creative design. As persons, we are much more than the clothes that we wear or the manner in which we might choose to decorate our bodies.

Though we might give expression to some of our values on tee shirts or in other apparel, the actions we take that flow from our values are much more effective communicators of our real beliefs. People trust much more in their observations of our behavior than in any designs, words or symbols that we might wear. However, if we reflect a bit even on our choice of symbolic or other clothing, we can decide whether we do so for purposes of gaining attention or respect, causing admiration or amusement, inviting comment or avoiding any particular focus on us at all.

Almost any decision we make conveys something of our values, however deeply held or even shallow they might be. And so, even if we choose to wear a tee shirt with a message, we provide information about ourselves that might or might not coincide with the literal understanding of the words or designs printed on our clothing. For anyone who knows us even slightly, we carry more meaning by far in who we are than in whatever idea or concept we might bear externally on our persons.

We can adorn ourselves any way that we choose. Far more importantly, we can ask of ourselves that whatever we decide to wear will be based on our desire to communicate only what will be of benefit to our neighbor. We know from experience how much a bit of humor or kindness can lift spirits, and also that criticism and judgmental statements can be dispiriting 

Even tee shirts can convey our regard for persons, or the opposite.




Last Updated 9/23/17