Saturday, February 8, 2014

Teaching Modesty - Its Easier Than You Think


I recently had a conversation with my 9 year old about wanting to get some shorter dresses to wear over jeans, which led into a discussion about modesty. It was such a joy to talk with her about modesty and it was so easy to talk about it with her! A few minutes later I hear her encouraging her 5 year old sister to be modest while doing something. It struck me how easy it is to teach modesty. I've heard it said that its so very hard to teach it or that moms don't know where to even begin. Its really simple.....if you have something to back it up. And I do.

~ Start teaching your girls modesty when they are newborns. 
                                                             
Often as I'm dressing my babies, I chat with them on all sorts of stuff, and often I comment on being modest. "We need to get you dressed, so you're all modest for Jesus. We can't have your belly hanging out, because that's not modest at all!" (and yes, usually said in a stupid voice. oy) :) Its never to early to start teaching our girls about modesty. 

~Use simple phrases that are suitable for babies and toddlers.

Jesus wants you to be modest. 
Keep your dress down. 
Act like a lady. 
Sit nice and neat. (my phrase I use with my kids :)) 

We each have our own phrases, so think of one that suits you and your definition of modesty, keep it simple, and start using it with your precious girls. 

                                                             
~Always back it up.

Always, always! Back up your rules for modesty with Scripture. Titus 2 is a good starting place, but there are many others. If you can't back it up with scripture, its not going to mean much to them. If you can back it up, teach them why you have your standards and they will embrace it. Having Christ as the center of everything is very important.

~As they get older, start teaching them the "why's" and "how's". 

Around age 5-6, I start being more specific with the "why's" of being modest, still keeping it simple for their age. One of the things I start saying around this point is that "there are bad guys who like to look at girls in a bad way, so its important to always be modest". Not only is dressing modestly biblical, but its also a protection. 

Up to this point I've told them to keep their dress down, to keep it over their knees, that sort of thing, but now they are ready for more. If I see them doing a specific thing is causing them to be very immodest, I take the time to teach them how to properly do it. For instance, sitting on the couch with their legs up to be comfortable while reading a book. I sit with them and give them step by step directions on how to still sit comfortably, but also be modest. Then we practice a few times, giving lots of praise when they get it. It usually turns into a giggle fest. :) 

We start talking about making sure their shirts aren't too low or loose "so no one can see their belly" is how I phrase it at this age. If they are wearing a skirt and shirt, making sure the shirt stays down so no belly is showing is taught as well.

Around age 7-8, I go even more specific. This morning my oldest and I were chatting and it turned to modesty as we were talking about clothes. I wouldn't mind wearing jeans every now and then if I had a short dress to wear over them. I personally feel its important to keep my hips and *ahem* butt covered. I don't want to draw attention to that area at all, so if my girls are wearing jeans or pants, they have a long shirt or shorter dress on so they are covered. It was a good conversation, but got a few giggles over having a conversation centering butts. :)

I don't spend hours upon hours teaching them modesty. Just here and there, when the situation presents itself. Now my 9 year old and I often talk about it, because it just comes up in conversations or she has a question. Its a common topic in our house, even if its just a sentence or two. 

                                        
~Beautiful inside and out

We teach our girls that they should focus on being beautiful on the inside, not on the outside. That doesn't mean to say we don't encourage them to look pretty, because we do. We just don't focus on that. Everyday they put on nice clothes and get their hair done (most days anyways) so they look fresh, pleasing and are ready to go. I personally find that when I'm wearing nice (not slouching around the house) clothes and my hair and make up are done, I feel much better and work better. I tell them its a good thing to look pretty for their daddy.......as long as they don't take it to the extreme of becoming vain about it (which is easy for girls to do. oh my). 

                                   
I used to wear jeans allll the time, but was never fully comfortable. I didn't realize I was having a modesty issue (go ahead, call me dumb *rolls eyes*). Now I wear skirts and dresses all the time and my girls do the same. My oldest remembers wearing pants and shorts and really missed it when we first started wearing only dresses. I backed up my reasons with scripture and she had no issue with it, just questions every now and then. If there is a situation that it would be more modest to wear jeans or long shorts, we have no problem with letting them do so. Our churches summer camp will be one of those time that shorts will be much more modest than wearing a dress.

Each family has their own standard of modesty, so impart that to your girls. And boys. Just a different level there.....although my son (3) has been known to ask if he can wear a dress like his sisters......and is often seen carrying a purse.... :D

Take time to teach your precious girls modesty, using Scripture to back it up. Start young and never stop. 

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