Monthly Archives: June 2014

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Bodies: Wonders to Love, Behold, and Respect

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Earlier this week, Rob Sparks asked if I would add a motherly perspective to the discussion about modesty he is having on his blog, christocentricity.  Here’s the first of a few posts I’ll be sharing with him in the next week or two as I think about what I want to teach my daughter about modesty.  Be sure and check out his stuff, too.

Alright, Ladies and Gents. It’s that time of year again – the time of sun, and sand, and endless articles on modesty. I can literally see your eyes rolling and hear the hefty, drawn out sighs.  Don’t worry. I did the same thing when I thought about writing this post, but please bear with me.

Modesty. With summertime finally here, it’s a very hot topic.  Everyone has an opinion on what modesty looks like. We point fingers and say you have to dress like this, or don’t do that because they might think or feel this.

There are a few problems with this way of thinking, though. First, modesty is not an unchanging set of concrete rules. It varies: from religion to religion; from culture to culture; from generation to generation. Second, we always point fingers.

Always.

I think our time would be better served if, instead of pointing fingers, we asked, What can I do to make this betterTo make me better?

Since we all come from different directions on this issue, I say two of the most fundamental issues are respect and responsibility. Most “problems” with modesty boil down to those two things.

Growing up, I lived in a home without rules, and without concern. No one cared where I went, who I was with, and certainly not what I was wearing. It wasn’t really a “problem” until my teenage years.

I quickly learned I could get what a wanted with a short skirt and a tight top. I would manipulate and tear down others with my clothes. If I liked a boy, or he had something I wanted, I would throw on my shortest jean skirt, my lowest, tightest top, and bat my eyes. BAM! It was mine.

If I was fighting with a girl, I would dress to make sure she felt bad about herself. The clothes on by body weren’t the “problem”, it was how I was using them. I was actively using my clothes and body to hurt others. I didn’t respect the boys I was manipulating by actively toying with their hormones. I didn’t respect the girls who I was purposefully trying to make question themselves. I certainly didn’t respect myself.  I wasn’t alone in this. In high school you are ranked by your clothes and body and how you used it. Respect…I didn’t have it.

Thankfully, I have grown and matured a little since my high school days. Now fifteen years later I have a daughter.  I pray every day that she is not anything like I was. I find myself more concerned with, and more invested in, the whole subject of modesty and body image. I’m continually rethinking and reworking the best ways to approach and live out a healthy body image. I’m am constantly searching for a solid middle ground.

The modesty mess can be taken to extremes, just like anything else. On the one side, we say if you have it flaunt it. Sex sells. Bare it all – show me everything you got. With that though, comes a myriad of problems. (Hmmm, that sounds like another good blog topic.) We have nine-year-olds doing things that still make me blush to think about…and I’m a married woman!!

We say we are an oversexed country, and in our quest to right ourselves we veer too far the other way and drill into our girls to cover up and hide their bodies completely. We tell them it is entirely their responsibility to control the hormones of others. We are telling them that any form of attraction is taboo. When we do this, do we teach them their bodies are something to be ashamed of?

When we say girls are entirely responsible for a boy’s lust, what we really are saying is: “Men, you are nothing but animals who have absolutely no control over your body. You are completely helpless creatures when it comes to your thoughts and sexual appetite.”  We tell our daughters: “Ladies, if a man comes on to you, it is because of something you have done or because of the way you are dressed.”

What do we say to girls who are raped? Is it their fault? You can’t say girls are entirely responsible for men’s hormones and subsequent actions, and not say the victims of sexual assault are instigators, not victims. (Yes I have read several articles that say just that.)

We have to do better. Plain and simple. Middle ground. We have to find it.

I don’t want my daughter to struggle with her body image like I did. I don’t want her to think the way to get what she wants is by manipulating others with her body. I also want her to be confident in her skin, to know she is beautiful on the inside and out. I want her to respect herself and the others around her. I want her to know that she shouldn’t toy with emotions or hormones, but also it isn’t her responsibility to hold someone’s hand and say, don’t look that way;  don’t feel this way. She is responsible for her own actions.

It’s not easy, but I think we make it a finer line to walk than it should be. It should be a path, not a tightrope. We constantly push and tear each other down when we should be building each other up. We extend our hand not to help, but to point blame.  We need to be more accepting, and less judgmental – quicker to help and slower to hinder.

It all comes down to respect and responsibility. Respect for yourself. Respect for others. Accepting responsibility for your mind and body. You are the only one who can. This will look different from person to person. We are different body types with different personalities coming from different backgrounds. Let’s be slower to condemn and quicker to show love and acceptance.

Lessons on modesty can be a difficult topic, but it is one that we should address openly and honestly. We need to teach our young girls their bodies are not something to be ashamed of. They aren’t something taboo.  They are beautiful.

We need to teach our girls that modesty is a form of self-respect. Again, that may look different from person to person. Love and acceptance and respect are the answer. We need to be careful to not encourage self-objectification.

Whatever your level of modesty is, make sure you are empowering instead of hindering.  We need to teach our young men that girls are more than their bodies – they are human beings deserving of respect.  Everyone is responsible for their own actions and thoughts.

Our bodies are beautiful things – works of art. There are paintings and sculptures and poems dedicated to its beauty. They aren’t something to be ashamed of. They are wonders to behold and love and respect.

 

Bodies: Wonders to Behold, Love, and Respect

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Earlier this week, Rob Sparks asked if I would add a motherly perspective to the discussion about modesty he is having on his blog, christocentricity.  Here’s the first of a few posts I’ll be sharing with him in the next week or two as I think about what I want to teach my daughter about modesty.  Be sure and check out his stuff, too.

Alright, Ladies and Gents. It’s that time of year again – the time of sun, and sand, and endless articles on modesty. I can literally see your eyes rolling and hear the hefty, drawn out sighs.  Don’t worry. I did the same thing when I thought about writing this post, but please bear with me.

Modesty. With summertime finally here, it’s a very hot topic.  Everyone has an opinion on what modesty looks like. We point fingers and say you have to dress like this, or don’t do that because they might think or feel this.

There are a few problems with this way of thinking, though. First, modesty is not an unchanging set of concrete rules. It varies: from religion to religion; from culture to culture; from generation to generation. Second, we always point fingers.

Always.

I think our time would be better served if, instead of pointing fingers, we asked, What can I do to make this betterTo make me better?

Since we all come from different directions on this issue, I say two of the most fundamental issues are respect and responsibility. Most “problems” with modesty boil down to those two things.

Growing up, I lived in a home without rules, and without concern. No one cared where I went, who I was with, and certainly not what I was wearing. It wasn’t really a “problem” until my teenage years.

I quickly learned I could get what a wanted with a short skirt and a tight top. I would manipulate and tear down others with my clothes. If I liked a boy, or he had something I wanted, I would throw on my shortest jean skirt, my lowest, tightest top, and bat my eyes. BAM! It was mine.

If I was fighting with a girl, I would dress to make sure she felt bad about herself. The clothes on by body weren’t the “problem”, it was how I was using them. I was actively using my clothes and body to hurt others. I didn’t respect the boys I was manipulating by actively toying with their hormones. I didn’t respect the girls who I was purposefully trying to make question themselves. I certainly didn’t respect myself.  I wasn’t alone in this. In high school you are ranked by your clothes and body and how you used it. Respect…I didn’t have it.

Thankfully, I have grown and matured a little since my high school days. Now fifteen years later I have a daughter.  I pray every day that she is not anything like I was. I find myself more concerned with, and more invested in, the whole subject of modesty and body image. I’m continually rethinking and reworking the best ways to approach and live out a healthy body image. I’m am constantly searching for a solid middle ground.

The modesty mess can be taken to extremes, just like anything else. On the one side, we say if you have it flaunt it. Sex sells. Bare it all – show me everything you got. With that though, comes a myriad of problems. (Hmmm, that sounds like another good blog topic.) We have nine-year-olds doing things that still make me blush to think about…and I’m a married woman!!

We say we are an oversexed country, and in our quest to right ourselves we veer too far the other way and drill into our girls to cover up and hide their bodies completely. We tell them it is entirely their responsibility to control the hormones of others. We are telling them that any form of attraction is taboo. When we do this, do we teach them their bodies are something to be ashamed of?

When we say girls are entirely responsible for a boy’s lust, what we really are saying is: “Men, you are nothing but animals who have absolutely no control over your body. You are completely helpless creatures when it comes to your thoughts and sexual appetite.”  We tell our daughters: “Ladies, if a man comes on to you, it is because of something you have done or because of the way you are dressed.”

What do we say to girls who are raped? Is it their fault? You can’t say girls are entirely responsible for men’s hormones and subsequent actions, and not say the victims of sexual assault are instigators, not victims. (Yes I have read several articles that say just that.)

We have to do better. Plain and simple. Middle ground. We have to find it.

I don’t want my daughter to struggle with her body image like I did. I don’t want her to think the way to get what she wants is by manipulating others with her body. I also want her to be confident in her skin, to know she is beautiful on the inside and out. I want her to respect herself and the others around her. I want her to know that she shouldn’t toy with emotions or hormones, but also it isn’t her responsibility to hold someone’s hand and say, don’t look that way;  don’t feel this way. She is responsible for her own actions.

It’s not easy, but I think we make it a finer line to walk than it should be. It should be a path, not a tightrope. We constantly push and tear each other down when we should be building each other up. We extend our hand not to help, but to point blame.  We need to be more accepting, and less judgmental – quicker to help and slower to hinder.

It all comes down to respect and responsibility. Respect for yourself. Respect for others. Accepting responsibility for your mind and body. You are the only one who can. This will look different from person to person. We are different body types with different personalities coming from different backgrounds. Let’s be slower to condemn and quicker to show love and acceptance.

Lessons on modesty can be a difficult topic, but it is one that we should address openly and honestly. We need to teach our young girls their bodies are not something to be ashamed of. They aren’t something taboo.  They are beautiful.

We need to teach our girls that modesty is a form of self-respect. Again, that may look different from person to person. Love and acceptance and respect are the answer. We need to be careful to not encourage self-objectification.

Whatever your level of modesty is, make sure you are empowering instead of hindering.  We need to teach our young men that girls are more than their bodies – they are human beings deserving of respect.  Everyone is responsible for their own actions and thoughts.

Our bodies are beautiful things – works of art. There are paintings and sculptures and poems dedicated to its beauty. They aren’t something to be ashamed of. They are wonders to behold and love and respect.

 

Uhmmm…did you forget to tell me something?!

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Ah, little boys. Did anyone else read the little pamphlet the hospital gave you on “how to care for and raise your little boy?” I read the whole thing multiple times. It was filled with really good information. What to do when they get sick, the number of calories they needed each day…Yada Yada. Did you notice anything missing? I didn’t at first, but when my oldest turned about 11 months, slowly I started to realize…they didn’t tell ANYTHING about raising a little boy. About raising beautiful Disney movie perfect little prince yes, but not a real life human boy!! NADA!!!!!!!

Here are the 10 things they “forgot” to add to the little pamphlet they sent with me from the hospital about raising little boys.

1.)They are loud. I’m talking if you get out of ear shot of the shrieks, your ears will literally be ringing. They only come in two volumes. Terrifyingly loud and Metallica. That’s it, there isn’t an in between. Just accept it. You won’t be able to out yell them, it’s a physical impossibility. Just know one thing. As long as they are loud, everything is ok. If it EVER gets quiet, they are doing something they shouldn’t be and you better find them quickly!!

2.)They are dirty. Very dirty. I’m not just talking dirt, which there will be plenty of. Your bath will need a bath when your little boy gets out. But there will be snot everywhere. No matter how hard you try, tissues will only slow them down, so they will use whatever happens to be easiest to access. Whether that be their hand, sleeve….your shirt. They will touch everything – dead animals – their butts – the inside of their noses. There will be an entire layer of just grossness that will envelop them. Keep wipes on hand and shoot for “marginally gross” seriously…that’s as good as it will get.

3.)Trips to ER. You will be on a first name basis not only with the night time nurse at your pediatricians office, most likely you will know at least one of the nurses at your local ER as well. Boys are rough and they are daredevils. They are convinced down to the very core of their being that they are invincible. I have four boys and between them we have had, 5 cases of staples or stitches. 7 broken bones. 1 official concussion (there may have been others). Swallowed enough spare change for a drink AND a snack from the machines. Swallowed a broken Christmas bulb. Had to call poison control FOUR times. And so many bloody noses and bruises I can not even count!! Peroxide will be your be best friend…it gets blood out of most things.

4.)They CAN’T sit still. EVER. Some part of their bodies will be in constant motion…and it’s usually fast. Even when they are sleeping…they won’t be still. There will be jumping and running of course, but did you know they could climb walls? Seriously, they will climb up the door frames like some sort of deranged monkey. Yes I checked, duct tape and straight jackets are apparently frowned upon…you have to accept the constant motion.

5.)The penis. Once they find it, they never let it go. I swear I think they are afraid it is going to run away or something so they ALWAYS have to check. They have to check while watching TV, while eating dinner, in the dentist chair, at the store, when your boss is over…even while they are sleeping. Oh, and they will compare it to each other too. Who’s is bigger…longer…There will be peeing contests…I have even seen sword fights.

6.)Clothes. What clothes? Any chance they get, they will strip down. The VERY first thing my boys do when they get home from school, is strip down to their under-roos. It’s almost as if the fabric of clothes is coated in some sort of acid that rips at their skin if they come in contact with it too often or for long periods of time.

7.) Destruction. They love it. They will spend hours building things with Legos just to have a monster come through and tear it down. They love breaking things. My boys spent and hour and a half on the back porch popping balloons. An HOUR AND A HALF breaking things!!! They will also break the glass you said to be careful with and the heirloom glass egg that they weren’t even supposed to breathe around.

8.) Bodily functions will be awesome. Belches are hilarious. There will be contests – which are no longer just for length, but for style and pitch and who can talk best while doing it. Oh, and farting is side splitingly awesome. Again…with contests…Oh and let’s not forget about the bathroom. They will call you in to inspect what they just dropped in the toilet. Especially if it is an awesome color or if it’s giant. They made it and will be proud. Oh I almost forgot crop dusting and “The Cup”. I wish I were joking or exaggerating, but I’m not. If you don’t know what the last two are…Google it…you need to be prepared.

9.) They are always hungry. If you have one boy, that’s bad enough…if you have more than one…stock up now. They may look tiny…but those little things can pack the food away. Not only will they eat man sized portions at meal times, but they will snack ALL DAY LONG!!! The empty/full gage usually does not come standard on the boy models. It takes two crock pots for one meal and mine aren’t even teens yet. 6 loaves of bread – 3 jars of peanut butter – 7 gallons of milk. This is the standard for our home for one week JUST FOR SNACKS!! Get a couple deep freezers and start your stash now. Maybe even invest in a cow and pig every year.

10.) They will steal your heart. There will be the occasional time where you will wonder if his warranty is out or if it’s too late to return him (I’m joking…a little) most of the time though your heart will be bursting with love for the little monster who just colored all over every wall in the he house. There are no sweeter kisses than those from a snotty nosed little boy. Too soon, they will grow up and the silence in the house will be deafening. You will miss the roar of life ripping through your house. The best hugs are mud covered. The sweetest sound are the squeals of delight as your little man is running down the hall. You will find your self looking at this gross looking alien like creature and think…Wow, that’s mine. I made you. How stinking awesome are you?! Each day you will fall deeper and deeper in love with him. Watching him grow will be both magical and painful.
Savor these messy and loud moments, they won’t last forever.