Is Modesty a Four Letter Word?

How do you handle issues of modest dress in your house?  We tried to establish standards early in our kids lives–mostly for our girls.  They didn’t always like what we established…just ask them.  For shorts and skirts we set up the “extended arm” length.  With arms dropped at their sides, the shorts or skirts couldn’t be above their middle finger.  I can’t remember where we got that but seemed like a reasonable measurement to me. 

Swimming aparatus (is aparati the plural or singular ??) was always a struggle and I guess it still is.  We were insistent on one piece suits for most of their growing years.  Certainly not because they had anything to reveal at 7 or 8 years of age but as a model for the future when they would.  We still encourage them to think twice about bikini’s and what message they are trying to convey.

Well, it’s prom time.  So, our youngest came home with a borrowed dress that looked very nice on her but we just felt it was a bit too low cut.  So, we asked her to figure out a way to reduce the “V” to maybe a “U” or a dash “-“.  She wasn’t happy but she did figure out a way to close the gap a little and she seemed OK with the adjustment.

We’re not trying to be prudish or anything.  And, we aren’t legalistic.  It is so hard to raise young girls and women in this society.  Especially when most of their friends who come from similiarly parented homes (beliefs, backgrounds, church, etc) don’t necessarily adhere to the same standards. 

Why am I sharing this.  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s cathartic.  Maybe I’m just trying to justify our years of “kicking against the goads” on this issue.  Or, maybe I’m just trying to encourage some of you that wrestle with the same thing that I think it makes a difference.  Our girls seem to consider modesty on their own now.  They might want to try something a little more risque in rebellion but as far as I can tell, they shop for appropriate clothing. 

If you’ve put modest standards in place for your kids, stick with it.  It’s a very difficult battle, in the world AND, unfortunately, even in the church crowd.  But, I think it’s worth it.  I don’t want my girls advertising too much of their bodies before a young man gets a chance to see their beautiful interior qualities of spiritual and mental maturity.  Physical attraction is a given in any relationship that develops.  But the body doesn’t need to scream out.  It can gently whisper “I’m more than how I look”.  Amen?


2 thoughts on “Is Modesty a Four Letter Word?

  1. Stacie

    I’ve been ruminating over this since our son had prom last weekend at a local Christian high school. He and his date arrived and my jaw about hit the floor because her dress was very low cut. About 1/3 of the girls wore dresses that we found to be less than modest. This after the principal sent out a memo reminding students and parents that modesty applies even at the prom. It made me angry for our son’s sake and it made me sad to see that at first glance our Christian kids would look no different from the public high school kids down the street. Last weeks event were a great teaching moment for our 13-year old daughter who now makes the comment “I guess she missed the modesty memo.” Thanks for sharing.

    1. Jeff Abramovitz Post author

      Thanks for the reply, Stacie. I remember taking my son into the public school for the first time in 10th grade in MN and thought I was taking him into a brothel. I think it’s up to us as parents to fight against the tidal wave of immodest dress, even unfortunately, in the Christian community.


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