As a mother of three daughters I desire to instill in them both dignity and modesty.
My daughters grew up in an environment that valued modesty. As such, we did our best to show them how their attire and demeanor had a correlation with the way they would be treated by men. My husband monopolized teachable moments to point out “sexualization” in the media and discuss how some of the girls on magazine covers, and in movies, were revealing too much skin. As such, our daughters began to understand that wearing little clothing was like advertising their bodies.
7 Tips for teaching MODESTY to children
M Modesty first begins with you. Model virtue and beauty to your children and point out positive role models.
O Own it. Teach your children to walk with confidence and self-respect.
D Define standards for modesty early on and stick to these standards. It is important to be clear and consistent. If you haven’t set the tone early on, it will be harder to expect your teens to suddenly cover themselves up.
E Explain the reasons behind your decisions. As your children mature, dialogue with them about modesty and ask them what they think.
S Scrutinize clothing choices with your children as well as their media choices. Once again, it is helpful to maintain open communication with your children.
T Train your children to think about the reasons behind their choices. This is often accomplished through open dialogues, because it provides a safe outlet for your children to express their thoughts.
Y Your body is good. Modesty should never be about shaming the female body. We simply dress modestly because our bodies are God’s masterpieces. In fact, our bodies are a ‘temple of the Holy Spirit’.
So how is a woman to dress? In response to this question I wonder whether or not it is about the clothing, or lack there of, or if it is more about the heart attitude. We should be asking our daughters why they choose the outfits they do. Are they trying to bring attention and glory to themselves, or to God? Are they mimicking what others are wearing to fit in? It’s certainly okay to look nice and fashionable, but I believe that the posture of the heart is key. This can be accomplished by encouraging our children to cultivate a deep and meaningful relationship with Jesus. I encourage you to be active and interested in your children’s spiritual development.
1 Timothy 2:9 And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes.
1 Peter 3:3-4 (3) Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. (4) You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
It is impossible to dress in a way that prevents other people from stumbling 100% of the time. This, however, is not the point. Modesty is not about wearing a burlap bag in an attempt to hide the female form and somehow prevent men from lusting. Modesty is about valuing yourself. It is about learning to love how God made you as a woman and standing tall. It is about knowing how precious you are, every part of you, and not wanting or needing to flaunt it through less fabric on your body. Modesty is not gauged by whether or not someone will easily be tempted to lust after you. It is poise, grace and a sense of value that naturally manifests itself through the attire that is chosen on a daily basis. Teach your daughters their value and instill in them an understanding of their strength.
Fathers, I encourage you to be present in your daughter’s lives and let them know how proud of them you are and how beautiful they are. Let them know that they are leaders and they have a powerful voice. This, in return, will have the greatest impact on what your child chooses to wear. You can teach them about modesty, and by all means please do, but without captivating their heart they will see through the rules and have no problem wearing jackets before leaving the house in an effort to cover up their plunging necklines.
How do you handle modesty? I’d enjoy hearing from you.