This morning I got up, had breakfast and jumped on-line to catch the sports scores from last night. As my homepage loaded (I use yahoo!) several news stories popped up as they always do. There were all sorts of news stories concerning the NFL draft, politics, and Hollywood all of which has seemingly had a never ending supply of “news.” Then a story popped up that was unrelated to the others. My Sesame Street roots kicked in. One of these is not like the others and I took interest. My eyes stopped glancing just quick enough to learn what the story was about. It was about an 11 year old dancing protégé. While I didn’t watch the video, she apparently had moves that stunned talent scouts. What I did catch was the still image of the video. It was an 11 year old girl, wearing nothing but a nude leotard. To be honest at 1st glance I didn’t think she was wearing anything at all. This got me thinking, when did the sexualization of our children become a positive thing? This one video is not all that there is. There are countless movies and TV shows out there where teenagers are highly sexualized. What is ironic is that Hollywood knows that can’t exploit real teenagers so they hire actors and actresses in their 20s to portray teenagers. What it is really doing is encouraging teenagers to dress, act, and behave in ways that no young person should ever do AND it encourages older men to gawk, lust and stare at real teenagers.
As a father of 4 (including two daughters) I take how the world looks at my children very seriously. I want to know that when my girls grow up (one of them is as old as that girl in the article) that they will find a man who will marry them for who they are, not what they look like. I want to know my boys to treat women like human beings, not pieces of meat there to satisfy their carnal appetites. I pray that others would be willing to do the same. It starts in the home.
For those of you that have been following me you have read several articles about my changing of how I was raising my children. One of the things I have been challenged with is shaping my children’s wardrobe. It baffles my mind how truly hard it is to find clothing for a pre-teen that does not accentuate her body. Skinny Jeans, yoga pants, and other tight fitting pants seem to be the norm anymore. My eldest daughter loves to run, and finding pants for her to run in this winter was exceptionally difficult. So much so, that if we ever find something appropriate we buy several different colors so that she has more than one. I mean who knows when we will find another. And don’t get me started on shorts. I don’t want her wearing clothing that barely covers her bottom. Even finding modest dresses is difficult. Why just the other day I was looking through dresses for my youngest, who is 2 and I found a backless dress that was barely long enough to cover her diaper. I was in shock? How could this ever be deemed as appropriate to sexualize a 2 year old?!?
This is not meant to be the rantings of an old-fashioned dad who doesn’t get what it means to be hip and cool. I know that I don’t get what it means to be hip and cool. I wasn’t cool when I was in school. I wasn’t cool in college. And my children think I have a highly unusual sense of humor and for the most part I am just plain weird. My opinions about clothing don’t stem from my parents. They don’t stem from a desire for past days. (I am a child of the 1990s). I feel this way about clothing because of how I feel about my God. Nakedness is something that we should be ashamed of. God often used this shame to describe what he would do to Israel as a result of their sins. “Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your disgrace shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one (Isa. 47:3).” Mankind used to be ashamed that someone would see their nakedness and now it is being flashed all over the internet in what is deemed as a selfie. But, here is the real kicker. God does not deem nakedness is full on nudity. When we are not dressed modestly, the scriptures say that we are naked. Look at the following illustrations. Isa. 20:4 says that if the bottom is uncovered it is nakedness. Many modern swimsuits and athletic apparel don’t cover the bottom. Thus, it is nakedness. Isa. 47:2, the verse that preceded God’s explanation of Israel’s disgrace, He explains what made Israel naked… the thigh was exposed. The thigh is not hard to figure out. It is the upper leg. In the bible that meant anything above the knee was considered the thigh. This was of such importance to keep covered, the priests were required to cover theirs with breeches whenever they came near the tabernacle to minister (Ex. 28:42-43). The tunics they wore alone were insufficient for service in God’s house. They would be standing upon a mount, above the people. They would be bending, lifting, twisting, etc. God wanted no “accidental” nakedness in his house! But, perhaps the most telling of all these passages is the very first time man put on clothing. Adam and Eve made for themselves loincloths (Gen. 3:7) after they had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. When God asked why they were hiding they replied, “I was naked so I hid myself (Gen. 3:10). Even then, man understood that merely covering up ones loins was not enough to cover one’s nakedness. Later in the chapter God gave Adam and Eve tunics to wear tunics to wear (Gen. 3:27). The tunic was a long shirt like garment. Some had short sleeves, others had long sleeves, and still some had none at all. What was consistent was that they were know for covering everything from the collarbone to the knee. Once they put these on, the scriptures say they were clothed. God gave them exactly what was needed to be properly clothed. Now, this does not mean that we ought to wear tunics. But, it ought to say something about what parts of the body God expected us to cover lest our nakedness be exposed. The midriff, the bottom, the thigh, the chest for men and woman alike were to be covered.
I want my children to grow up to be godly people. I am not so interested in whether or not they are fashionable people. “Good looks” won’t get them anywhere with God. He is interested in a goodly, righteous heart. When I teach my children about modesty I tell them it isn’t my opinion. It is God’s will. I’m not being old-fashioned and not up with the times. I am trying to lead them towards purity and righteousness.