We passed by the “restaurant that Mommy doesn’t like” the other day. I know this because every time we pass this particular establishment, my little guy pipes up from the back seat, “Oh, look, look. There’s that restaurant Mommy doesn’t like.”
I force a little half grin. “Yep, buddy, it is.”
How did this particular restaurant come to be known as that? Well, it had to do with little guy’s brief fascination with owls. As we drove by one day, little guy suddenly takes a deep breath of excitement.
“Oh, mommy,” he says, “Look! An owl store! Do they have owls there?”
“No, buddy,” say I. “That’s a restaurant.”
“Wow! An owl restaurant,” says little guy. “Can we go, Mom? Can we? Can we?”
Deep breath. “No, buddy,” say I, hoping, but knowing this will not, end the conversation.
After a few more exchanges, I finally explain it, “Well, bud, Mommy just doesn’t like that restaurant.”
“Why don’t you like it, Mom?” asks little gal, who has become intrigued with the conversation.
Hmmm … teachable moment, I think. “Well, hun, you know how you and Mommy have talked about modesty?”
Great. My parenting is obviously sticking. “Well, it has to do with wearing our clothes and presenting ourselves in a way that is honoring to God. Do you understand what I mean?”
Pause. “Uh-huh,” she says half-commitedly.
“Well,” say I, “you see the people who own that restaurant have the ladies who serve the food wear something that’s kind of like a swimsuit. And Mommy doesn’t think that is appropriate or modest.”
Little gal is appalled. “A swimsuit? To be a waitress? Mommy, that’s just silly!”
Yep, it is. But it was also an easy target. It makes the point, but, in our world at least, it is an extreme.
I thought of that today when I was reading a blog about modesty. The gentleman was articulate and convicting. But then, inevitably it seems to me, he came to the extreme example: the halter top that’s two sizes too small.
But that’s not my problem, I told the computer screen, and I don’t think it will be little gal’s problem some day, either. We get that we shouldn’t be wearing a halter top that’s two sizes too small. It’s whether we should be wearing the just-a-couple-of-steps-above-the-halter or the form-fitted-but-not-form-fitted-enough-to-bring-the-frowns-of-our-pastor’s-wife. It’s the in-between, not the extremes, where we have to make our daily decisions.
And while it’s easy to poke at the owl restaurants and the tight shirts, it’s not so easy to really talk about our hearts. To talk about how we dress reflects what we believe — that our God is to be honored. To talk about how it’s not just about avoiding immodesty, but pursuing modesty. I want little gal to know that, while there will be some hard and fast rules in our house, it’s her heart that’s most important in the battle to be modest.
I know I need to practice, and model for her, an attitude that says, “Sex is an amazing gift from God, but I will not abuse it for my own pride. Instead of finding power in turning a man’s head, I will find the power in turning my heart toward God. Christian brother … I’ve got your back.”