Modesty can be a controversial topic. Add lust and it just got interesting. Lust.
I cringe when it comes to hearing those words and when it comes to my daughter, I cringe a little deeper.
My husband, on the other hand,doesn’t mind talking about it at all. That is why I decided to team up with him on this one. I thought it would be good to get his perspective as a man, husband and father. And I, of course, will be giving you my view as a woman and mother.
We all have differing opinions and that’s okay. All I ask is while you read this, try and have an open mind and see through a different set of lenses.
When I sat down to write, I was keenly aware that we would soon find ourselves fighting the crowds for her back-to-school wardrobe. In our family school shopping has been notorious for mother/daughter debates in the dressing room. So a couple years ago I decided to bring in the big guns — Dad.
My husband still goes back-to-school shopping even though its not his favorite. Ultimately, he has the last say in what our daughter steps out in. That’s not to say that my opinion doesn’t matter, but there is just a special connection dads and daughters have that sometimes speaks louder than mom’s voice.
Even though our daughter, at times, may act like she resents our intrusion in her fashion choices, she really does care about what we think. I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of our daughter. She is very modest, and she has learned to look at herself with respect.
My wife and I loved dressing her up in the most adorable outfits for school or any special occasion. Fast forward about ten years and my little baby is a young woman. It seems like time just flew by. From the time my daughter was little we have had a great relationship.
“A healthy father and daughter relationship is where a girl gains confidence in who she is and develops her self worth. A dad’s job is to build up his girl, loving her and encouraging her in all areas of life.” *
The other day we were out shopping for summer clothes —now my daughter is 5’ 4” and a buck five— We spent hours traveling from store to store looking for clothes that will fit my girl just right while keeping everything covered up. It seamed like everything she tried on was either too short or too low. Does anyone know where all the modest clothes went?
I know my girl wants to wear the styles that are in fashion and I’m convinced they are out there, but everything seems to show more skin than it should. For now, I have the final say as to what is appropriate and what isn’t. After trying on more outfits than I could number, I noticed my girl getting frustrated and not understanding why she couldn’t buy some of these clothes. It was in this moment I needed to further explain modesty. Helping her to understand my thinking and why she shouldn’t wear certain items. I gave her the tools she would need to be able to see from my perspective and allowed her to put these guidelines into practice herself.
The reality is that no-one likes to be given rules without any explanation. I believe, if we as parents, are to strict once our kids experience freedom they could swing the pendulum so far in the opposite direction they don’t know where a good balance is. So what is a good balance?
I am very aware of what first attracts any man to a woman. When a young man first lays their eyes on a girl. it is their physical body that they see first. It’s not wrong, it’s just reality. However, how much of your daughter would you want a young boy looking at? If you think back to what first attracted you to your spouse, it was physical— right? We all believe our spouse is the most beautiful/ handsome person and the attraction grows from what was first a physical to an emotional one.
Our children are no different. By teaching our daughters to dress modestly we help them see that they are beautiful without revealing every curve of their body with skin tight clothing, low cut tops and short shorts. Men see first and listen later, but when they see a woman who dresses modestly it shows them that they respect their body and their confidence comes from within. I would hope we could all agree the responsibility lies with both the boy and the girl and not lead one another down destructive or a unhealthy path. —
When my daughter was little, I made her clothing choices for her. It was easy. We shopped at places like Children’s Place where it was about what was light and bright as opposed to what was fashionable. Ten years later its all about what is on trend and what the celebs are wearing.
It’s everywhere. Magazines, social media, television— I’m talking everywhere. So when it comes time to shop, they want to look for that outfit their favorite celeb was wearing in the photo shoot on the cover of Vogue instead of what flatters them and their moral compass.
Case in point recently. My family and I had just sat down to watch Transformers when across the screen, there it was. The scene where Mikaela, played by Megan Fox, is checking out Sam’s broken-down Camaro, and what was Sam checking out?
For the next 45 seconds, it was all about Mikaela’s body. She lifts the hood and he comes around, the first thing Sam’s eyes go to is Mikaela’s bare, oil glazed stomach, not once, not twice, but four times— FOUR times! As if it weren’t bad enough that the camera pans from her stomach to her face then pans slowly down her body to her butt. He is so turned on by her body he conceals is face from her to express his lust. Throughout the remainder of the movie she is seen as eye candy. Its was just then when it hit me; our society has become so immune to what is sexually provocative its become part of our everyday life and we don’t give it a second thought.
We have to wear clothes. It’s not an optional extra, but have we considered what our daughter’s clothing says about them? Or how their clothing will impact how others view them?
Modesty is primarily about our motivations. Our daughters ought to respect themselves enough that they don’t have to wear skimpy clothing to attract the lustful attention of boys.
“Lust goes beyond attraction, and appreciation of beauty, or even a healthy desire for sex.”
I can’t tell you the exact measurements shorts should be or how low is too low. I can say that we ask our daughter to ask herself a series of questions before she even steps out of her room.
- What about my outfit grabs my attention?
- Is it good attention or bad?
- Is this something I want people to look at — or is it just distracting?
- Does everything fit properly?
- If I’m wearing a jacket, if I take it offwill it still be appropriate for outside my bedroom?
Bonus… does dad approve?
Our daughters need to understand that a man’s eye will be looking at their every curve before a conversation will ever take place. Therefore what she says with her choice of clothing may speak louder than her actual voice.
Modesty starts with a girl’s love and respect for herself. She should love who she is and be confident she has something to offer those around her other than a free show.
I would never give men a free pass to just stare at a woman’s body. Men need to learn to control where they look and to treat women with the respect they deserve.
So daughters… my encouragement is to love who you are, be confident and secure that you have more to offer than your curves and know you are beautifully and wonderfully made.
The man you want to attract is the one that will treat you with respect and wouldn’t want you to dress less than modest.
Quotes: *Bryan Runyan and Joshua Harris