THE ISSUE OF MODESTY PART 2
Modesty is a subject that has a lot of facets to it and I will not be able to cover the whole subject, but I do want to talk about one of the most important aspects of this subject. That is habit. Parents must always remember to say to themselves "what habit and what belief in the heart am I training my child to have with this action or lack of action?" It is very cute to see little children in bikinis or loose legged basketball shorts or even to let them run around without clothing on. However, what kind of habit is this building in them and is this how you want them to look when they are teens? Many would say, "Bikinis and nudeness I can see, but what on earth is wrong with basketball shorts?" I used this illustration just for the purpose that these are so readily accepted. Yet shorts with a silky material that shows all form underneath it clearly and legs that are so loose that they fly up when in action showing far more leg than is appropriate, and if the child sits on the ground and pulls up his knees, anyone who walks by can see clearly up to the panties, should perhaps be re-evaluated for the title of modest dress. So you can see how difficult it can be to decide what is modest and what is not.
The first step is to explain to and train your child in which areas of the body are for public view and which are personal and private. This starts as very little children before they have even developed personal modesty which often shows itself around the age of three. Teaching little boys to stay dressed and little girls to keep their legs down if they are in a dress is a very repetitive exercise and you may think it will never get through. Just keep the vision before you of how this will look at age 15 and you will be spurred on in your efforts. It is easier to build habit than understanding and it is the habits of life that will save your child many times in the future. Yes, as they get older, the "whys" of all of this should be explained, but for now just focus on public versus personal areas.
Secondly, parents often make the mistake of assuming that since siblings are related there is no danger of lust so you don't have to take care at home to be modest. Again we are trying to build habits of life and there are sadly too many stories of incest even in very good and godly families to hide our heads in the sand about this. This also goes for the modesty of Mom and Dad in front of the children. Our bodies are wonderfully made and the things of God's nature should not bring feelings of shame. So, we want to build attitudes of great respect and honor to the preciousness of ourselves and of others in our bodies. This is where we should carefully choose verses in the Bible to memorize about God desiring us to be holy and focused on Him from our hearts. Other verses about how to truly love one another are also helpful. As your child gets closer to puberty and the issues of reproduction become more interesting, then scriptures should focus on the preciousness and joy of this issue in God's will and pattern and also the pain, guilt and destruction that results in not following God's pattern. Proverbs has many available ones and so do 1 and 2 Corinthians, Deuteronomy and 1 and 2 Chronicles. If you as a parent have a failure in this area in your past, this is where you redeem the pain you experienced by sharing with your pre-teen how you learned the hard way that God's ways bring greater joy than selfish desires. Tell them of the pain, disgrace and heavy burden of guilt and broken trust you had to carry and how much you love them and desire them to find greater joy than that. If you are truly honest with your child and not awkward with this subject, you will find a response in them of sobriety, and even gratefulness towards you. This will open doors of communication through the teen years that you will find a true blessing.