Be Careful Little Eyes What You See!!
I don’t know about you, but as I mom, I seem to notice more inappropriate images every where that I go with my kids. I get so frustrated that they see images (usually of women) dressed inappropriately all the time. I currently have a 9 year old daughter that is such a girly girl. She loves fashion and just girly things in general. Dressing modestly is something that is very dear to me, and I feel like I am fighting a losing battle.
How, What the Eyes See Affect Our Thoughts
Think of the time that you were driving down the road and saw a sign with a juicy hamburger and thought, wow, I could really go for a hamburger right now. You start to crave that hamburger and your thoughts are nothing but, how hungry you are all of sudden. The same thing is true when it comes to sexual images portrayed around us.
Early exposure to sexual content in the media may have a profound impact on children’s values, attitudes and behaviors toward sex and relationships. Unfortunately, media portrayals do not always reflect the message parents want to send.
I know as a parent of a younger child (5-11), I want my kids to learn about the sanctity of their bodies. That God made them special for a reason. And that their body is God’s temple. That no one else should be looking at their private parts, or touching them anywhere near their private parts. And that sort of awareness begins with realizing when a body image is inappropriately displayed in front of them. Looking at too many sexually sparked images can leave a lasting thought pattern on your child of confusion, about themselves and what sex really is.
Children process sexual material different than adults. We might be thinking, Oh it’s not a big deal, they will not remember any of this. But that is far from the truth. Children tend to remember visual images and process them in ways that we would never think of. They may not be able to tell you how these pictures are bothering them. Or even recognize that the thoughts that they are thinking are not right. They haven’t experienced the world enough to have the background knowledge to process their thoughts correctly. That’s why harmful images that they see on magazines in stores, mannequins dressed provocatively, or sexual gestures expressed on television, and so on, need to be discussed and monitored.
Why is Modesty So Important?
I know that as a mom of 2 girls, I want my daughters to dress modestly. Kosimos, is the Greek word for modesty. It means “well ordered” or “of good behavior.” Relating those terms to how we dress is in the eye of the beholder (God). We can use 1 Timothy 2:9 to help us define modesty a little more:
“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning
themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes,”
You have to look at the words decency and propriety to have a definition of what modesty looks like. Decency means: The quality of being morally fit, suitable, or becoming, in words or behavior; propriety of form in social intercourse, in actions, or in discourse; proper formality; becoming ceremony; seemliness; hence, freedom from obscenity or indecorum; modesty. Propriety means: Appropriateness; suitableness to established standards and principles, rules, or customs; fitness; appropriateness; as, propriety of behavior, language, manners, etc.
Taking into account that if we are left to our own standards of what that means, then, if you see an image of a women half naked on a cover of a magazine, it may seem perfectly okay. Or even a manequin dressed in a very low cut skimpy dress would seem alright and deemed modest. But if we say that we as Christians have to follow God’s standard of modesty. What does that entail?
The apostle Paul talks about us adorning themselves in a way that is productive to loving and helping others:
“but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.”
(1 Timothy 2:10)
If you take 1 Timothy 2:9 and pair it with 1 Timothy 2:10 you start to see that there really isn’t a black and white statement about how we are to dress. But there are details that let you know how far is too far. God doesn’t want our desires to be wrapped up in the way that we look. We are not to spend a lot of time preparing ourselves on the outside each day. We are to work on what our heart looks like on the inside and putting others first before ourselves. When we spend time putting on too much jewelry, make-up, expensive clothes in a way that would displease God, then we have sinned against God.
If we look again at the words decency and propriety in God’s view, it means to be appropriately dressed, in a way that doesn’t provoke sexual desires in others. Wearing leggings at home in front of your spouse may be perfectly suitable, but to wear them to church is another story. If I was going to help my friend mow their lawn dressing in a bikini is not okay. So, understanding how God wants us to dress first will allow us to see what is appropriate and what isn’t.
Protecting Our Kids Eyes
I can not even go to the grocery store without seeing images in the check out line that are offensive to me. I can not even imagine being a male having to try to be a good man that doesn’t lust for other woman when it is shoved in his face constantly. Now imagine being a little boy inundated with sexual images of women all the time, but they are suppose to grow up and be good Christian men that love only their wives. Our society makes it almost impossible. Or see yourself as your daughter, who is trying to understand where their place is in the world among all the sexual images of how women get noticed. Yet, we want our daughters to be strong, confident women of God who are amazing moms and wives themselves. How do we even get there?
As a family we have started talking about how those images are not okay for our eyes to see. And that if we see an image that seems inappropriate that we are to turn our eyes away. We have also spent numerous hours talking about what is appropriate and what isn’t. For example, when we go to the mall and see the pictures of the Victoria Secret models plastered on the wall wearing only a bra and panties, we have decided that is not okay. When we check out at any store we look at some of the magazines and see women in bikinis, we say that is inappropriate. If we are watching television and a commercial comes on where a woman is dressed in a very skimpy dress, we have deemed that a look away commercial.
So now that we have taken the time to deem what is okay and what is not, my kids are pretty good at looking away. We have even used the word “eyes” as our code word to let people know not to look.
Now sometimes kids see images that they do not understand, and we need to take the time to pray with them about how they are feeling .We need to talk with them about the issue and let them know that God is there for them when they feel scared, disturbed or unsure of how they are feeling.
So decide as a family what is inappropriate for your little kids’ eyes to see. If you struggle with this, pray, let God open your eyes to His standard of modesty. Create a code word as a family to help everyone to remember to turn their eyes away from damaging images. And finally, talk with your kids about these images. Don’t wait thinking that they are too little. In our world there are inappropriate images everywhere you turn. Help protect your kids’ eyes and thoughts from the ways of the world.