Friday, April 9, 2010

The Case for Modesty

I have a rather vivid memory of a certain encounter with my father when I was in high school. It was a Wednesday night, and I was practicing something on the piano before leaving for Wednesday evening church. My father happened to pass by and look at me, and he stopped and said scornfully, "Well, those are some pretty short shorts to be wearing to church!" Then he glared at me a moment and stalked away. He never did actually make me change my shorts, interestingly enough.

I was remembering that the other day while trying on summer clothes with Leslie at the mall. "No. No, no. Too short. Not buying those." I get it now, dad.

But even more, I hope my daughter gets it more than I did when I was her age. I hope I'm doing a better job of explaining to her why I set the standards I do for how she dresses.

- A guy's mind (particularly a teenage boy's mind) works like a gestalt picture exercise. Give him enough hints to the full image, his brain will fill in the missing pieces. And then you're causing your brother to sin. That's not calling all boys perverts -- that's calling them boys. We gotta stop telling boys to be good and then setting them up to fail.

- Like it or not, people do make judgments about you from the way you look and dress. And this particular judgment would have some legitimate basis -- a wise, godly young woman will take care to avoid the scenario in my last point, and a woman who doesn't take such care calls her character into question.

- You don't want anyone's first or foremost thoughts of you to be about your body. Your body is a small part of your personhood that will be fully shared with only one person, someday in the future. Your personality, your compassion, your intellect, your humor, your wisdom, your passions, your smile . . . those are God's gifts for the world today. They should take center stage.

I soooooo get it now. I hope my girls get it before they're preaching to their own daughters.


Vianelli and Eastin said...

Clothes? Complete waste of time choosing them.

Anonymous said...

I talked a little today with my 18 year old son and he was very candid about it, I was a little suprised. He said short/shorts are sooo common now, that most guys don't even blink about it. He said the boys "know" who has "reputations" and who doesn't and is not based on how they dress. He did admit thought that all boys have "thoughts" and that is just how it is but that it is not necessarily the girls clothing that prompts thoughts, but more often than not it is their attitude. I realize this was not scientific, but was a nice conversation, thought you might enjoy the ensight of an 18 year old boy.
Julie W.