I have a daughter that is at the end of her 3rd grade year. She is on the tail end of Gen Y. She’s also starting to turn into a young woman. There are moments when I look at her doing something, and it’s hard to see that little girl that used to not let me put her down, or that toddler that refused to sleep unless I was holding her. I look at her and see the woman that she is becoming- beautiful, strong, sympathetic, courageous, a deep follower of Christ. She is the best of my wife and me, and we are very proud and thankful God blessed us with her.
So it was with great sorrow, that walking down the aisle at a local store the other day, that I saw a woman on the front cover of a magazine, barely covering her breasts. The magazine had headlines screaming at my daughter (and others as well) how to please their man, how to do this and how to do that. They had articles on what clothes to wear to attract men, and tricks to keep him happy in bed. It horrified me to see the oversexualization of our little girls confront me standing in line to pay for my groceries. I did my best to make sure that she didn’t read the headlines, but I won’t always be there.
Having been in student ministry for over 10 years, my wife and I saw this trend a long time ago, and so we have been talking with our daughter for several years about what it means to be a woman in Christ. We have had conversations about what’s appropriate to wear, how boys will starting talking to her and looking at her, we even have talked about when it’s ok to kiss a boy. You may think that this is a little young to introduce these things, but it wasn’t because we initiated it. Most of our conversations started out of something that she had seen or heard her friends talk about.
She knows that eventually boys will begin looking at body parts that right now really aren’t there. But she also knows NOW that she can’t wear certain things (i.e. pants w/ writing on the rear end, shirts that don’t cover her stomach, bikinis) and we have ingrained in her a sense that she’s worth more than what those clothes communicate.
Here the guidelines we use when it comes to what she’s allowed to wear (these aren’t mine, but from a friend):1. If you have trouble getting into or out of it, it’s probably not modest
2. If you have to be careful sitting down or bending over, it’s probably not modest
3. If people look at any body part before your face, it’s probably not modest
4. If you can see your most private parts or the outline of them under the fabric, it’s probably not modest
You might be thinking that she’ll be looked at as different when she’s older, or we’ll see what happens when she hits high school. And you may be right, but I can tell you that as we implant God’s word in her heart and life she will be like the tree growing beside a stream, a tree that produces fruit in season and always has leaves (Psalm 1:3). She will know that her identity doesn’t come from a man or her ability to please him. And it doesn’t come from what kind of clothes she wears; it comes from her being a child of the King.