Thursday, July 25, 2013

Training Our Sons In An Immodest Culture

This question was once asked on a website to which I used to contribute:

My question is regarding protecting our children from seeing too much skin in the summer months... Do all of you avoid all boating trips and boat docks in addition to the public beaches? How do you deal with extended family who are showing too much skin?

I answered that, though it is nearly impossible to shield them from everything, I could think of seven ways our family found to keep that exposure to a minimum and what to do when there's no way out:
  1. Begin with your own family. Respecting their own modesty lays the foundation for respecting that of others. Thus, it is not wise to allow children of different sexes to bathe or use the bathroom together once they are aware of sexual differences. Make sure everyone has a bath robe or is fully dressed before exiting the bathroom or their bedrooms even when using the facilities at night.  
  2. Hide it in their hearts. There are many passages in Scripture which deal with the issue of protecting one's eyes from evil. Incorporate those verses into your family memory schedule or home school devotions as soon as they are able to memorize, then bring those verses back to their attention as there are teachable moments (i.e., Ps. 101:3; Job 31:1; Matt. 5:28).
  3. Teach them to look away. Before children are even of an age to lust after those who are immodestly dressed, teach them not to stare at them or point them out. Rather, teach them to look away. If this practice could become a habit early in life, perhaps it would not be so difficult to practice later when the temptations and hormones are running high.
  4. Respecting women. Young men must be reminded that, if they indulge in viewing immodest women, they are disrespecting not only those women, but also their mother, their grandmothers, their sisters, their aunts, and all the other women they love and are loved by. They should see immodest women first of all as women and respectfully turn away or even get away, depending on the situation.
  5. You may have to avoid certain social events. If you discover there will be or are immodest people at a social gathering, you may need to bow out completely or leave early. Unfortunately, even some churches are becoming a free-for-all in immodest apparel. If this is an ongoing problem in your church, you might consider keeping your young people out of the youth groups and Sunday school classes in order to keep them from being constantly bombarded by the immodesty of their peers.
  6. Young men at the checkout. There is no where you can turn at most stores these days where there are not grossly immodest models gracing the covers of most of the magazines on the racks. Therefore, once our sons began puberty, I made it a practice to send them out to the car while I finished at the checkout. 
  7. Teach them to see immodest people as PEOPLE. The tragedy of immodesty is that it objectifies and dehumanizes the very people who wish to be admired and adored for it. If a child mentions some one's immodesty, remind them these are people who are in need of God's grace just as they are. 
Furthermore, let me encourage you to pray earnestly for wisdom and discernment in this area of training and to discuss it with your mate.

Also, please take a look at posts from these other contributors to see how they handle this issue in their families:

Generation Cedar:

Counter Cultural Mom:

Thankful Homemaker: