Summer, summer, summer time!!! I love, love, love summer. I love that there is so much to celebrate in the summer! Think about it: the kids are home from school, so there are no worries about late nights, right? When it gets too hot, there are plenty of opportunities to get in some water and cool off. And, hello... fireworks! Who doesn’t love celebrating the fourth of July? Summer is the best.
As it gets hotter, though, I’m noticing that the clothes are getting smaller, and smaller. I understand bathing suits at pools, and I’m not even opposed to bikinis, but I’m noticing that current fashion trends are focusing on the body being as uncovered as possible. Something has changed in the fashion world, indeed, in the world, in my world.
I think it may be that I have teenagers.
It was so much easier when I could dress them myself. The baby wore pajamas for the first three years of her life, because it was just easy. She is my most challenging fashionista, now. My middle girl is six feet two inches tall with a size twelve foot. That isn’t much fun, just FYI. Combine teenage hormones with impossible to find sizes makes for a teary day of shopping. Tommy, the oldest, hates shoes, hates shorts, and hates tags. He’s actually pretty easy. Jeans, t-shirts and flip-flops are easy enough. Hopefully, he’ll get a job that doesn’t require fancy clothes.
I have noticed the difference between girls' and boys' clothes as the kids have gotten older, and it started when they were in elementary school. Girls' shorts that satisfied the fingertip rule were super hard to find! With homeschooling we don’t have to satisfy school rules anymore, but we still have to satisfy my rules for, well, covering up!
Modesty has a few different meanings. Being modest- not thinking so highly of one’s self- is an attitude that makes a person easier to get along with. It is easier to draw close to people that are not screaming, “it’s all about me,” all the time. Modesty in the way that one would present themselves means to not dress or behave in such a way to be indecent. As a parent, just monitoring the daily news, the common culture, television, movies, advertisements, anything in print, and anything on the radio points to immodesty. The most popular movie stars and singers seem to delight in being naked! It is such a huge issue to cover up my kids when the people they are watching and listening to don’t seem to value that.
The simple way to handle the modesty issue is to live it, of course. When you, as the parent, put a high value on being decent and dressing in a way that actually covers your body, your kids will likely follow suit (no pun intended). Now, everyone who is a parent knows that it is never that easy. I mean, no kid in the world never rebels. That little one who spent the first three years in her pajamas, also spent a fair amount of time trying to not wear any clothes. I mean, it was seriously an issue when she started preschool, because she either wanted to be in her pajamas or in nothing. Now, she’s growing so fast that sometimes it seems like she can’t help how she looks when she emerges from her closet. I, on the other hand, forget that what fit decently last week does not fit at all this week, and I go straight to, “No! Not ever! No way, young lady! You go change those clothes immediately!”
She also doesn’t like change. I have to sneak the clothing out of her repertoire very stealthy-like. I also have to pretend I don’t know it’s all gone “missing.” I could lecture her about the good qualities and character traits of being modest, but she does better with visual, living examples. And a lot of time when any of the kids are focusing on what is the latest and greatest in pop media, I use it as an example of what not to do... then I remember I was a teenager once, too, and that strategy doesn’t always work so well, so we end up just talking about it. We talk about why our bodies don’t need to be on display for everyone to see. We chat about how our cheeks don’t need to be seen peeking out from under our shorts. We talk about marriage and purity because that is what we value in our family. Modesty may be a bit old fashioned, but hopefully we (the parents) can keep the conversation positive and encouraging and ongoing. It’s important, I think, to value those old fashioned values.
So, keep calm, talk about values, and parent on!