Lessons 16 (Training our Daughters), 17 (Modeling Modesty) and 18 (More Than a List) all deal with teaching modesty to our children.
first your children need to sense that you believe that walking with God and living life for the glory of God is the most wonderful way to live.If we don't show our children that living for Christ and His glory is joyful and the best way to live life - why in the world would they want that for themselves?
The issue is not strictly obedience (though of course that's important too - hot stove anyone?!). It's a heart issue.
Proverbs 4:23 Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life. (NLT)
What is in our heart is what comes out in our attitudes, actions and words. So, we need to instill in our children's very core the values that we believe in.
How do we do that?
So make sure that you’re communicating to your children what it means to live for the glory of God, and why there’s joy in that. Then ask God to help you set a godly example in every area of your life, to be an example of what it means to love God and to obey God.First, we have to be consistent with walking our talk in all areas of our lives. If our children see us being inconsistent in one area - why should they listen to us in another? It's being hypocritical and children are smart enough to see this. Let's be honest - our children see us at our worst. This doesn't mean we have to be perfect - kids don't expect that. But they expect authenticity - and I think that will only become more of an expectation the older they get. So, that means that when we do mess up (and we will!) that we need to admit our mistakes to our kids, apologize and ask their forgiveness. I know parents often think that we need to be perfect for our kids and not admit our mistakes - but truly it is the opposite. Children will respect you far more when you own up to the mistakes they already know you make!
Entertainment is an area today where we are so influenced in subtle ways by a culture that is contrary to God’s ways. It’s more subtle because we laugh at entertainment; we’re amused by entertainment. It’s fun, so we don’t think of how dangerous some of what we’re being exposed to might be in its philosophy, in its behavior, in what it’s promoting as a worldview.
There’s inconsistency there for parents who profess to believe the gospel and then let their kids watch sexually explicit movies, movies that promote philosophies that are violent or unbiblical.
One rule in our home will definitely be that we need to see the movie first before our kids can see it. This won't be a problem because we love going to movies!
Now, I may be the odd man out, but I don't necessarily feel it would be hypocritical of me to see a movie I wouldn't want my kids to see. First off, none of the movies we watch are appropriate for young children to see, but they're not kid movies, they're adult movies. Not that entertainment has no effect on me as an adult, but I have already formed my worldview, I already know what I believe and it will not affect me as much as a teen who is going through all those crazy thought processes and is really forming their worldview. Now, I still need to use discernment and think about what I've just seen.
And that is what I want to teach our children. If we do allow them to watch a movie that has some objectionable points but is overall ok, then we will discuss it with them after. We will explore together what was wrong and why, what was realistic and what was not, etc.
However, that is when they are old enough to process things that way. When they are young, I really believe we need to guard their minds. We need to be careful what things we allowing to go into their minds, even subconsciously.
To that end, we have recently cut back on both the amount of TV our children watch (only one show per day) and which shows they are watching. Some of the shows that we cut out aren't even necessarily bad shows. They just reinforce a worldview that I don't want them focusing on right now.
This also goes for magazines - especially if you have sons in the house.
Listen, you would not allow a voluptuous woman who was half-dressed to come in and sit on your coffee table and say, “I’ll just be here for a month, and then I’ll be gone.” But isn’t that what we do with magazines?We don't need to be on pins and needles about every little thing, but we have control over what comes into our house and there's no point in playing with fire. Again, we don't need to make a big deal over everything (the lure of forbidden fruit and everything), we need to consistently model modesty as a way of life.
And no double standards. If casual wear has to be modest, so does formal wear and so does swimwear. Swimwear - that's a tough one for me. I'm not sure where to draw the line on that one.
Now, setting a good example, modeling modesty - is very important. Without it, anything you say will be ignored. But even with it - we still need to verbally teach it. They're not just going to absorb our values through osmosis.
I love the list she gives....
- The principle of ownership: Your body is not your own; it belongs to God once you’re a child of God.
- The principle of Lordship: Jesus is Lord over all.
- The principle of citizenship: If you’re a child of God, you belong to a different kingdom; you don’t belong to this world.
- The principle of stewardship: God has entrusted some things to you, like a body. He’s entrusted beauty to you, and you have to use that in ways that are pleasing to the Lord
And generally, everyday teachable moments are the best way to teach values to our children. Discuss the billboard you just passed, the show you just watched, etc. Ask them questions - get them to reason it out themselves as to why it is right or wrong, or what such an action portrays. They will be much more likely to "own" things and opinions they figure out on their own under your guidance and through study of God's Word. What does God have to say about it? Help them look it up. Teach them to be students of the Word.
Wow - so much to think about again this week. Looking foward to next week and reading everyone else's thoughts again.