Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Discussions on Modesty and Femininty
When my daughter Jessica was growing up, we spent hours and hours discussing anything and everything while working in the kitchen together. Maybe that's why she still likes spending time in the kitchen creating delicious baked goods, and maybe that is why we still like having conversations that get down to the knitty gritty topics of life! So yesterday, when we had to spend many extra hours at West Coast Baptist College in order for my husband and a good friend of his to work on James' car, Jessica and I went to the Great Awakening's Cafe and spent some delicious mom-daughter time talking about everything under the sun. I'm so glad I have a daughter who loves being feminine--and modest. The fact that Jessica is feminine and modest was no more of an accident than her liking to bake and enjoying conversations with her mom. When she was just a little girl, my husband would take her shopping and let her choose dresses with his help. She always chose the poofiest of the poofy dresses. The test for her was if when she spun around in circles, would the dress "poof" out even more! She loved the frilled socks and shiny, patent leather shoes too. Now to be honest, if I alone had chosen her clothing, I would have chosen clothing that was of a more classic style--less showy, but her dad and I wanted to foster in her the desire to be feminine. As long as daddy liked Jessica's dresses, I was all for whatever they chose. Every year, I believe with no exception, Jessica was a princess for trick or treat, and we had such fun applying make-up on her face and making her hair befitting of a princess. As she got older, I encouraged her to curl her own hair and learn how to style it--if she needed another curling iron of a different size--no problem; if she needed hairspray, mousse, or gel, I made sure she had it. I cut her hair, and as she got older I let her cut mine. We still cut each other's hair. When it came time for her to wear makeup, we spent time studying which colors would be best for her, and I showed her how to apply the makeup properly. As long as daddy liked how Jessica looked, Jessica was happy, and so was I. Now all of this femininity was in moderation. We looked for adorable clothing at local thrift stores; make-up was to be natural and enhance her looks--not cover them up; Payless or Wal-mart would have to be "good enough" for our shoe purchases because that was what was in our budget. Jessica bought a sewing machine one summer with money she earned babysitting; she loves sewing her own skirts and dresses and putting her own stamp of style on her clothing. My husband had "fashion" role models for Jessica to look to when it came to how she should dress--her femininely dressed cousins, Jennifer, Linda, and Lacey and others were young ladies that we would point out to Jessica, "See how she is dressed? That is real beauty!You don't have to show anything to be noticed." My husband, being the great husband he is, always told Jessica, "You can always look to your mom if you want to know how to dress and be pretty." He scored big on that one! Being feminine, modest, and pretty was a fun challenge through the years, and I'm so proud that my daughter caught what was being taught. I'm so happy that she is kind, and funny, and smart, and productive, and feminine, and pretty. Much of Jessica's attitude toward being feminine and modest, I owe to her dad. Yesterday while we chatted, nearly whispering, so as not to have our little conversation overheard by those around us, Jessica said, "You know, if dad had thought that it was okay for me to wear bathing suits or jeans, I would have."
"I know," I responded,"but your dad has always felt very strongly about how a woman should dress and be appropriate, and he has never shied away from being very blunt about how a man sees things. I really didn't totally understand how men really saw women until I met your dad."
"Was dad always like that? I mean, blunt?"
"Oh yes! Even while we were dating, he told me what he liked and didn't like as far as how women dressed, and he told me how women looked from a man's point of view," I answered.
"That's cool," Jessica stated, and yes, I think it's cool too that I met and married a man who is so honest--even if his honesty is uncomfortable at times.
When I told my husband that part of my conversation with Jessica, he said, "The only way that a daughter will be modest in this day and age is if a man is married to a woman who is willing to accept her husband's point of view and will back him up, but we live in a time in which in most households the women's point of view rules, and most women won't accept the reality of what is modest and what is immodest." He was talking about that much maligned word "submission." My husband was once again being honest while bragging on me at the same time, and that felt good.
Raising kids with real values and convictions is work. We spend and still do spend lots and lots of time really talking to our kids, and they have no problem sharing what they think with us--in fact, it's kind of like a family "sport." We always made time in a fun way to talk to our kids. Saturday mornings were always special. I don't know how it started, but without being scheduled, we would all wander into the living room first thing in the morning and have talks. I cherish those talks, and so does my husband and all four of our kids. The real learning about God, family, character, dating, friendships, and values took place during these "unstructured" talks that my husband and I have known would be vital if we wanted to raise kids that would be strong adults.