I was embarrassed, but proud at the same time. My little Audrey was only 2, but she had taken our values and made them her own, although used in the wrong place at the wrong time.
It happened when I was hosting a baby shower for my cousin. I looked across the room and saw Audrey in the arms of a guest. She was a little shy back then and it took a little before she warmed up. Soon, she was smiling, giggling, and having a great time.
I couldn’t believe what she did next! I watched Audrey grab the woman’s zipper on the front of her shirt and zipping it up, she exclaimed, “You’re shirt is low.”
The woman was very gracious and said, “You’re probably right my dear,” and laughed. I guess I should have taught Audrey more about social etiquette.
Even though I was as red as a beet, I was extremely proud. Who knew a 2 year old could internalize habits even adults struggle with?
Modesty is Important
While I work hard to instill the value of modesty in my girls, the world makes it hard to do. Sex sells. Now, shorter is better and less is more. Many believe that modesty is unnecessary for little girls; only perverts would look at them inappropriately.
However, modesty is important because it’s about priorities. It is a reflection of the heart. “Do you not know that your bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
Let’s remember, as our creator and savior, God has given us a body and has made it pure. If we want our little girls to grow into young ladies that honor God, we must be vigilant. If we teach our little girls NOW that the way they dress affects who they are, and the people around them, we can help develop in them a healthy attitude toward beauty and appearance.
3 Ways to Practice Modesty
Here are three ways my little ladies and I practice modesty.
1. Put Some Pants On!
Sometimes it is better to take preventive measures than have accidents happen. For example, I was constantly telling my girls to keep their dresses down, or not to hang upside down in their dresses, or to close their legs when they are wearing a dress and on and on. My girls love wearing dresses. So now, instead of correcting constantly, we just wear pants or shorts under our dresses. I like to too, because I don’t have to be so self conscious about accidentally showing everyone my underwear.
I make a point of telling my girls that they’re beautiful, but I don’t just leave it at that. I tell them why they are beautiful. It isn’t about their complexion or features, but about what I see in their heart. They are beautiful because they have good manners, love God, and care about others.
3. Asking for Help
Sometimes I ask my daughters for help when choosing an outfit. This gives me the opportunity to talk about why I wear what I do and see if they can catch if something I’m wearing is immodest. Another great opportunity for this discussion is at the store. I’ll ask my daughters to show me an outfit that they like and try it on to see what they think! 🙂
Do you teach your little girls about modesty? I’d love to hear how! Please leave a comment.
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Modesty Unit Study
It’s the Heart, Not the Hemline is a 5 week unit study on modesty from a biblical perspective for girls ages 8-14 years old. This study includes detailed daily lessons, scripture memory exercises, craft and activity prompts, as well as parent/child journals all offering a solid foundation leading towards wisdom in modesty. KJV and ESV translations are both included.
Very well said! I faced the same issues while my three daughters were growing up. I made sure to always remind my husband to compliment our daughters so they would grow up realizing they were valued by a strong, moral, loving man and there would never be a reason to seek attention from ones who were not. I am happy to say that the approach did work for us!
Joyce recently posted…Leftovers
You’re so right! The men in their lives are so important. No one can replace the loving words of a father. Thanks so much for reading!
My little one has recently become fond of Barbies. The other day she bought one with her own money. Of course, as an adult, I’m not crazy about the way Barbie dresses, but my little one doesn’t understand yet. So, we’re looking at Barbie after she came home, and I said, “Looks like they ran out of material before they finished making Barbie’s dress! It doesn’t come down to her knees. You see, her knees are way down here. And her shoulders aren’t covered either.” Of course, my daughter immediately seized on the idea, and started looking for ways to create clothes to dress Barbie up : ) She loves creating things! (I think there’s an Etsy market out there for modest Barbie clothes – if anyone can sew and is looking for some inspiration)
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That is so cute. My daughter did the same thing! She made clothes for them out of scraps of fabric and eventually bought some appropriate dresses with her allowance. I don’t think Barbie is all that bad as long as we talk about true beauty and try to avoid the bikinis 🙂
Sharon Hyatt says
Very well said. We as parents of boys try to teach them modesty too and in this world it is hard. Blessed though that they have listened and at their ages they still hold to what we taught them.
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Its so nice to see other people working on this. I live in a community where modesty is very much valued but, its hard as the girls get older if they get really influenced by the wrong friends and too much TV and movies
Sally Strang says
Hi, I am so glad other people teach these values too. As a mum of two daughters aged 9 & 11 (nearly 12), we also wear shorts under dresses, look critically at outfits for sale and I am pleased my girls are learning to be modest wherever they are. My 11 year old recently went shopping with 2 other preteens and a 19 year old girl from church, they tried on lots of clothes but came back knowing half would not get the Mum Approval. So hopefully when she has her own money she will continue to choose modest outfits in an ever-sexy world.
This is such a great topic. My daughter is almost 5 but tall for her age so we sometimes have to shop in the girls department and I’m so sad to see some of the outfits there. Super short skirts and see through tops. I keep an open dialogue about what is appropriate and what is not. I do my best to wear modest outfits while still being proud of my body. It’s a tough balance but I know my girls see it and understand.
Thanks for joining the Mixer last week hope to see you again Thursday 🙂
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I have issues with the current modesty issue, but that’s a topic for another time and place.
I do, however, love rule #2 — I think it’s so important to instill confidence in our children. I also think it’s important to avoid negative talk about ourselves because they really do absorb that, so we need to be nice to ourselves as well.
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That anecdote definitely made me giggle! Wonderful lesson though!!
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Not sure how I feel about this post. I hope that I have girls some day and I hope that they grow into young ladies who dress appropriately. I’m not sure that I would encourage looking at clothes and outfits critically and voicing exactly why or why not they would be appropriate. I would want to teach my daughters character, integrity, modesty (‘unassuming or moderate in the estimation of one’s abilities or achievements’), humility, meekness etc. and show them by example an appropriate way to dress. It seems like so much emphasis on what is ok and not ok to wear might foster a pretty judgmental attitude of others.
Maybe I’m way off. I am open to hearing others opinions on this. I am a brand new mom so I am just still trying to think through lots of things. Thank you for the encouragement you are to Christian moms! I love to learn and grow in this area 🙂
I don’t think you’re too off, but I can give my own experience in this area regarding how I was raised.
I was raised in a Christian home where modesty was not talked about or enforced at all. I know that might seem strange to those of us who do want to instill modesty (AND confidence) in our Christian homes; that’s just how it was when I was growing up. My parents wanted to take the approach of teaching their children to never be judgmental or ever put too much emphasis on appearance. Ironically, my Mom would often criticize her weight and appearance in front of her children. I was invited to dress how I wanted and to express myself, and to not judge others for their choice of clothes, too.
Looking back at pictures, my shorts barely covered my bottom, tops often showed the midriff, shirts were too low cut, etc. And, oddly enough, I was OVERLY critical and judgemental of how others would dress. I believe that was a result of the lack of instruction and direction from my parents about what is and what is not acceptable to wear (and, in my case, how to talk about oneself.)
It was a difficult transition for me after college and into adulthood to recognize and realize that we DO need to be very mindful of how we (and others) dress. Somewhere along the line our society has put more emphasis on individual growth and expression than on modesty and self control. As a future new mom (in July!) I have been thinking a lot about what I want to teach my children; and as a product of an upbringing without instruction of modesty and critical judgement or choice of clothing- even in a Christian home- I 100% will teach my children modesty and GOOD judgement (and nor will I ever criticize my weight or appearance in front of my kids! But that’s another story 😉 )
Tulip, thanks for the great article! So cute how your little daughter zipped up the lady’s shirt; she already can see what is and what is not appropriate! And she’s already a good steward of “Biblical correction” which so many people mistake as harsh judgement in our society! I know there can sometimes be a fine line there, but even Jesus tells us to remove the log from our own eye so we can see CLEARLY to remove the spec from our neighbor’s eye. 🙂
With much love and sincerity,
Couldn’t have said it better myself Lindsey! Thank you!
It is NOT our responsibility to be mindful of the way others dress. You can be as mindful as you want, but what I wear and what my daughters wear are not your business. NONE. I have beautiful nieces who wear shorts, show their belly buttons and look beautiful in bikinis. They are also straight A students with part time jobs and have trophies from their chosen sport. One is in college on a full scholarship, the other is a junior in high school and I am sure she will be just as successful. They go to a loving church that values them as a person and does NOT judge them by what they wear. God doesn’t judge them, either. Their true value is in their personality and their loving and giving hearts. It doesn’t matter one little bit what they wear, and it saddens me to hear Christians brainwashing their daughters to believe that wearing shorts and swimsuits is immodest or wrong. Sad!!!! I would not consider shaming my daughter so much that she, at such a young age, felt it was her place to shame an ADULT about what she was wearing. If your daughter zipped up my shirt and said that to me, I would have left my shirt exactly as I was wearing it , and I would have pitied you for raising such a narrow minded little girl. I would also probably have thought she was a little girl who needed to be scolded for talking in such a manner to an adult.
You are not responsible or mindful of the ways others dress? Really? So, if a man exposes himself to you and your daughters, you are okay with that? Or are only girls allowed to expose themselves?
I am sorry that your Church doesn’t teach modesty since it is a Biblical value, but that is true of many Churches these days. They would rather pack the pews and fill the offering plates, than teach Biblical truth.
It is not “shaming” to give our daughters standards and teach them self-respect. I am glad that you have beautiful nieces that are doing well in school. But I never said that immodesty led to bad grades. Of course, grades do not measure character and values. And I can’t understand why an adult would be encouraging girls to expose themselves in public. What will looking sexy in a bikini gain them? What kind of men will it attract? What kind of predators will it attract? Is it respectful to others? I just don’t see any reason to promote immodesty. I think the desire to expose our bodies comes from a rebellious and selfish feminist attitude that teaches women to do whatever they want and to hell with everybody else.
Like your nieces, my daughters have great personalities. That is what I want others to notice about them; not how good they look in a bikini.
Oh my GOODNESS. NO! No! You are not responsible for a man sexually assaulting you. And not being responsible is not at ALL the same thing with being okay with it. How in the world did you come to that conclusion from J’s comment about “judge not…”
and she is absolutely correct. I’m so horrified by this conversation. I don’t even know where to begin.
And modesty is a Biblical value, but if you go back to the text it is not about hem lines and sexuality. It is about materialism. Isaiah 3:16-23, 1 Timothy 2:9-12, 1 Peter 3:3, these were about women flaunting their wealth. Not their breasts or thighs.
This twisting of the scripture is about objectifying and sexualizing women and girls and infantalizing men. Dress appropriately, by all means. But our efforts are much better spent on teaching men to respect women (whether they are wearing a burqua or a bathing suit) than on teaching women to cover their bodies. And CHILDREN! Oh heavens. Lord help us.
Laura, I don’t know anyone that teaches their boys that it is okay to sexually assault scantily clad women. Yet, it still happens. So, instead of dreaming of a Utopia that doesn’t exist, let’s teach our girls how to dress for the real world. Besides, I can teach my daughters to dress respectfully and teach my sons to act respectfully, at the same time. They aren’t mutually exclusive.
That said, I still don’t understand feminists insistence that women should be allowed to expose themselves in public. We know that men are visually stimulated, so lets have some respect for them and not dress in a way that could tempt them. But then, isn’t that the point? When a women dresses “sexy’ isn’t she looking to attract sexual attention. Isn’t that why it is called “sexy.” So, now tell me why Christian women should be dressing sexy for men other than their husbands?
I know, how old fashioned it is to teach women to respect men. In this post-feminist era, only men should show respect, right?
As far as the Bible goes, this is the first generation of Christians who believe it supports a woman’s right to expose herself. But then, this is also the generation that discovered the Bible celebrates homosexuality. I am guessing this generation of Christians doesn’t actually read the Bible, or really care what it says.
^ well said Janine!
I think its ridiculous for people to go on and on about how they don’t judge people based on what the wear etc but are currently judging you about teaching YOUR child how to be modest? POT or KETTLE?
Anywho I’ve been thinking about this topic a lot lately as I have a 6 mos old daughter now. ON one hand I feel I have plenty of time for this and on the other day I think it’s never too early to start. If we always have a no bikini rule then its not up for discussion. Though honestly I’m having trouble deciding what the “rules” will be
I mean for me theres the obvious no short shorts or skirts
if my undies are linger than your bottoms you NEED new bottoms ..lol
But I think strappy tanks are cute and innocent and practical here in south texas…but will the day come when I want think they are cute and innocent anymore as my daughter ages?
COuld you possibly give examples of good places to shop as she gets older that have appropriate length shorts and such?