"So, What's Wrong with My Daughter Wearing a Bikini?" but within a few days, it became the most-read post EVER on my blog. Wow! I really had no idea it would generate that kind of response.
While several people commented publicly, and plenty of you retweeted and voiced your "amen" to my thoughts, I also received some private messages and emails with questions that I will attempt to answer in the coming weeks. Let's get started!
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I had to laugh when a friend called after my "bikini" post to express her concerns about her 5-year-old's penchant for lifting her shirt and flashing her mid-section to anyone who happened to be around. My friend had tried to explain to her daughter that she didn't need to be doing that. "Why not, Mommy?" her daughter replied. "It's fun!"
Well, sure, it's fun! She's a child; she's playing, and she's enjoying provoking a reaction from her mom and others. As Christian parents, however, if something like this becomes a problem, we need to stifle our own laughter, squelch the urge to assume we're dealing with an exhibitionist LOL, and get down to the business of laying a foundation of modesty (a respectful presentation of self) and reverence (a respectful understanding of God).
Explaining the physical boundaries of modesty to a little girl (3 to 6 years old) doesn't have to include graphic language. (Relieved?) In fact, it's as simple as telling a Bible story: Adam and Eve is the best place to start, so be sure that you are familiar with Genesis 3.
Here's what you say:
"Honey, did you know that the need for clothing began with the very first people? You see, in the beginning, the very first people God made, Adam and Eve, were allowed to run around naked in the beautiful garden of Eden where they lived. Things were much different then, because Adam and Eve had only one rule to follow: They weren't allowed to eat from a certain tree in the garden. That was their only rule! But when they broke that one rule that God had, then there ended up being a bunch of rules that people had to follow. One of those was that people had to wear clothes."
You might want to ask, What are some rules that you have to follow? Have you ever broken a rule? What happened? After listening carefully to your child's responses, continue on with the story.
"You see, when Adam and Eve broke that first rule, they realized that they had better get dressed quick! So they decided to cover up their most important boy and girl body parts* with fig leaves."
Go outside with your child and find some leaves. (Any leaves will do.) Hold the leaves up to your chest and your bottom. Ask your child, "Honey, would these leaves cover up Mommy very well?" No, of course they wouldn't. Compare the leaves to underwear. Underwear covers your important boy or girl parts, but it doesn't cover up very well.
With your child, read this verse from the Bible. (It's important that your child sees you opening the Bible and reading from it specifically, rather than just off a sheet of paper.) When God saw that Adam and Eve were trying to cover up with fig leaves, He gave them animal skins to dress in instead (Genesis 3:21).
Get a coat or a robe now, and show your child how God dressed Adam and Eve. He covered them up, and He covered them up very well--just like our clothes do a much better job of covering us up than our underwear does.
When it comes to talking about God, you'll find that most children have tender hearts. They want to follow through with a desire to do what He wants them to do, especially when you emphasize the fact that God loves them so very, very much! Everything He asks us to do is for our good and His glory.
Finish up by explaining to your child:
"God wants us to respect the careful and wonderful way that He made our bodies. He wants us to remember that our bodies are very special. We need to be modest and keep our special boy or girl parts private. One day, you will share those parts with the person you marry. Right now, only Mommy (or the doctor) needs to look at those parts. If anyone else ever asks to see those special parts, you need to come quickly to tell Mommy."
*I do recommend that you call these "parts" by their biological names, but I really didn't want to use those specific labels on my blog! :)
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