A lesson in modesty | Overstuffed Overstuffed

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A lesson in modesty


The other day, Joel was cleaning out the car in preparation for our upcoming road trip. He came in and showed me this little slip of paper he found under Bria's booster seat. Once I read it, I had to laugh: "I don't want to be modist. I want to be unmodist." Too funny...but of some concern. I remembered a few days ago in the car she was telling me she wished she could have an immodest dress like Princess Mia of the Princess Diaries. When I told her we needed to be modest because that's what Heavenly Father has taught us, she just sighed. And then, I suppose, she wrote down how she really felt.

Well, back to finding the paper. Joel and I thought we should talk to her about it, and so we sat her down and asked her why she wrote it. She was clearly a little embarrassed, but basically told us she really, really wanted a dress like Princess Mia's (it's strapless) and that it wasn't fair that she had to be modest because so many people she sees aren't. This is all very true. And she's very influenced by the people she sees around us...I've noticed her watching older girls when we're out and about. She really wants to be beautiful, and unfortunately, the world often associates beauty with immodest dress.

While I was listening to her, my mind was racing. How can I teach her the importance of modesty, but at the same time assure her that she can still wear beautiful (yet modest) clothing? Our Relief Society lesson just the day before had had some discussion of modesty and teaching our daughters. I think I've done a pretty good job of teaching Bria we need to be modest (after all, if I hadn't, it's doubtful she would have even been worried about the issue in the first place, right?), but I was beginning to think the whys were somewhat lost on her. She's only five years old, so many of the reasons would be too much for her to understand.

I finally had the bright idea to get my scrapbooks out from high school and college and show her all the dresses I wore to dances, recitals and in operas. They are beautiful and modest. I think it helped her and she asked me if I still had any of them so that she could wear them when she gets big enough. I have a few performance dresses in my closet, so we went and got them out so she could look at them in real life. Then Joel got my temple dress out and showed that to her (my wedding dress is unfortunately at my parents' house), and explained a little about going to the temple and how modesty fits in that way.

Ever since, Bria has had a new understanding of the entire issue, I think. On our roadtrip she got a new Bratz coloring book. She was drawing in more modest clothing for them when they were not so modest, and she would get very excited when she found one that was dressed modestly.

I still think it's hilarious to find such a note written by my five year old. But I am so glad that we were able to turn it into a learning situation for her. And maybe by the time she's sixteen she'll be okay with wearing a modest dress to the prom.

23 comments :

  1. Great idea Lara... and to think a road trip made it happen. :)

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  2. That note is too cute, and understand your issues. I would show you what I found Mikelle drawing, but that's a different issue entirely! Still, I liked the showing her of the dresses. Good tactic. I'm sure Bria is going to grow up to be a fine girl - she's got such great parents guiding her. You're doing much better with a 6 year old than I am. ...Jill

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  3. That really is a good idea to bring out the modest dresses that you have. I love that she was thinking about it!

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  4. I love to watch dancing with the stars. One of the first nights it was on a dancer came out in hot pants and a sports bra looking outfit. My 5 year old said, "Mommy! She forgot to put her dress on." I knew we would have that talk. And not watch that show anymore.

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  5. How wonderful that you were that example of beautiful modesty even before your kids were around to be taught lessons to. I'm sure your girls will get it!

    This is a lot of fun, visiting these older posts. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Brie is so cute!!! She has been into "fashion" since she was little huh? Those are WONDERFUL examples of being modest. I probably need to start teaching Kayleigh now. I know she is only 3 but Obv, they are learning.. Take care and thanks for that post.

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  7. My H is like Bria. She wants to dress like the Princesses and we have had to have the modestly talk with her too.

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  8. What a wonderful response to that cute (but scary) letter! So glad for you that it came up when she was five and not fifteen. Five years olds are MUCH easier to reason with than 15 year olds.
    :~D

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  9. Isn't it amazing what information they can soak up if we just take the time to sit them down in explain it in a way they can understand?

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  10. I love the idea of showing her your dresses! What a great example.

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  11. That little note you found is so funny! But it is hard to teach our children about modesty when the "beautiful" people they see in their movies and tv shows aren't always modest. Good lesson to teach her!

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  12. That was pretty genius to think about showing her the dresses in photos and in person.

    Another great post!

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  13. Good job explaining it with real life examples of you! Modesty is so important especially now when the clothes are getting worse and worse. I went to 5 proms and every dress I wore was modest.

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  14. What a great lesson to teach: living by example. It can be so hard to try to teach someone a principle that seems "different" than what's all around us (especially on TV and in movies). Good for you!

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  15. You know being a convert, I dreaded having my children see my prom dresses since all three I went to I was wearing strapless or low backs. But of course, there's no hiding it when my own dh carries one of them. ;-) Anyway, Lisa and Jas has had similar concerns, but like you, we found a teaching angle and used the temple as an exemplar to the lesson and the importance of feeling respected.

    Great and inspiring post... Thanks.

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  16. It is EXTREMELY difficult to find beautiful and modest clothing, but not impossible. Thank goodness that it is getting a little bit easier these days with new companies like Layers & Modbe and Modest by Design. And we all have those days when we don't want to do what we're supposed to. :)

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  17. I LOVE the way you taught her that. Our kids have so many examples of immodesty and bad behavior. It's perfect to counter that with good examples. Thanks for sharing...

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  18. That was funny note--but serious at the same time. I love the way you handled it!

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  19. This is really funny! I think you handled it very well, too, Lara!

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  20. Well done! I'm taking notes for this discussion I am sure I will have in years down the road. At least she didn't answer with what my middle boy told me the other day when I said the same thing about "because that's what Heavenly Father and Jesus wants us to do". He declared, "I don't care what they think!" *sigh*

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  21. That is such a great example of a "teaching moment." I'll have to remember that idea when Kaylie decides she wants to wear something "Unmodist." (She hasn't really tried yet though, but it's inevitable, I'm sure!)

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  22. That is so cute. It is so important to take those moments and make them learning moments. You did great, I think.

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  23. It is wonderful in this day to find a little girl who is worried about modesty. So many young girls are allowed to dress completely inappropriately. Only having boys myself, I don't understand the parent of a teenager who allows their daughter to choose clothing that is immodest. Of course, with boys it is the 'slabbing', wearing pants around ankles, that will always be unacceptable in my house.

    Lara, keep up the good work! You have beautiful girls!

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