Here's what we know for sure:
We know that when we train children in what God's Word says, they are better able to engage their world and make decisions with His values. Prov. 22:6
To care about modesty and have an understanding of how it looks in their own life, kids need to know God's Word, know why we settle on the standards we do, and learn to evaluate their world with God's principles. 1 Peter 1:3
We also know that our children WILL face visual images that will tempt them and influence their thinking. We can be sure that it will not be easy to be pure in their lifetime, as it has not been in ours or any other before us. 2 Tim. 3:1-7
Psalm 119:9 answers the question that believing parents all want to know:"How can a young man keep his way pure? By living according to your word."
Here's how it may look, practically, as a parent:
- We're responsible to give our children a healthy environment without toxins to stifle or spoil their growth. Without being legalistic, we need to fill their world with clean things and keep them from temptation. This responsibility transfers as they grow and mature. We teach our kids what "level" of immodesty to accept when we turn the tv station, choose a movie, or shop for clothes.
- Children need to be taught how to evaluate and make decisions for themselves, instead of how to fulfill a list of good/bad. Times will change, so they need to know principles from God's Word that doesn't change. The Bible DOES talk about our bodies, lust, and appearance, so we need to teach our kids those truths.
- We need to talk openly about the world around us and practice applying God's Word to our culture and to ourselves. Instead of being judgmental, though, let's focus on what God would have for US and how we can honor Him in our lives, physically, boys and girls, and how to resist temptations that WILL come.
- Begin when they are young to set and live by standards of modesty we believe God would have for us. Don't expose their eyes and dress their bodies one way as young children and then expect them to change as they age. Talk about what's modest and what honors Daddy and God when you shop, and show them that dressing modestly can be FUN and BEAUTIFUL!
- We seek to provide a place for our children to learn God's Word and to worship where they won't face the distraction of immodesty. This doesn't mean we become the "modesty police," but we choose healthy "soil" for our kids to grow. When was the last time you talked about whether or not you were dressed "to distract" someone else on a Sunday morning? Maybe we should.
- Help children value the purity of their thoughts and consider what images they store up in their hearts. This may mean they sit out of some events or some settings. We have had to make some hard choices for our own kids when we realize the visual images in a certain setting will not help their hearts and minds.
- Help them form a healthy (godly) understanding of the body and modesty, and they'll recognize the ugly substitutes. If children see that physical intimacy is embraced and enjoyed and encouraged in marriage and in your home, they'll be the first to see how inappropriate it seems when offered in relationships that aren't one flesh.
Kids will learn to love purity as they see it modeled in us, first. Start by asking yourself these questions:
- Why does this appearance/outfit appeal to me?
- Would this invite someone else to gaze and linger on me, other than my spouse?
- Would I be embarrassed if ____ was gazing at me? (Put in God's name or a spiritual leader's name)
- Will this honor my husband?
Be truly beautiful this weekend :)
(See this website for a neat visual check for younger girls ... also a great inspiration for older girls! Kristi shared this in her comment. Thanks, Kristi!)