If you have not started to have conversations with your daughter about modest dress, this will be a great starting point for her….and you! While this chapter is a snapshot of what life in the early to mid 20th century was like, the wholesome principles and wise insights into modesty are never really out of style. After you and your daughter read the chapter and start working through the corresponding chapter in The Companion Guide to Beautiful Girlhood, I want you to keep one thing in mind. Instead of being put off by this presentation of modesty, I encourage mothers to use the examples as a that was then and this is now and look long and hard at the timeless standards rather than focusing on the differences. One thing this chapter makes clear is that women have always had to struggle with the concept of what is modest.
This summer, I spoke at a conference and needed to have a high school girl assist my husband and me in our booth. Molly volunteered to be our worker. When I met her, I found a lovely, sweet-spirited, competent girl of 14 who was dressed in skinny jeans, (she was so petite that the jeans were quite modest) a layered shirt, and a jacket. On the first morning of the conference, she showed up to work and because it was slow, my husband told her that she was free to go, but could come back in an hour when things picked up. Two hours had passed and she didn’t come back. It took a bit of doing, but I finally tracked her down. She told me she felt that we didn’t want her in our booth because she wasn’t dressed modestly enough. (Her clothing was within the conference dress code.) When asked where this feeling of being judged came from she related a story of how two sisters had come up to her the previous day and informed her that she was dressed inappropriately. Furthermore, they proceeded to tell her that she was setting a bad example for the younger children. The helpful sisters then shunned her the rest of the day.
As a result of their “correction”, Molly felt that she could not nor did she want to measure up to their standard of modesty. The result was she wanted to hide. She also decided, as 14-year-olds do, that homeschooling wasn’t for her…that she just didn’t fit in. Thankfully, Molly was coaxed back into our booth where we were able to work with her and have several conversations about modesty with her. Molly’s work in our booth was exemplary, her attitude was superb and she was a quality representative of our company at that show. I am so thankful that the Modesty Patrol didn’t prevent us from getting to know and work with this precious young woman.
So, what are we to do when we or our daughters see a girl that desperately needs some modesty? First of all, modesty is an attitude of the heart but so is a judgmental spirit. An attitude of judgment, which is rooted in pride, takes root within and works its way out in actions, behaviors, and yes, even dress. True modesty is rooted in humility and is a quality that has to be nurtured in order for it to work its way out in our daughter’s actions, behaviors, and clothing choices.
Frequently, girls don’t realize what they are wearing could cause another to stumble. But be careful ladies with this one. Instead of being judgmental or even shunning our scantily clad sisters, first, check out your own heart’s motive and correct it if needed. Then, if it is necessary, come alongside the girl to gently exhort and teach her what it means to be dressed modestly by example and conversation. According to Galatians 6:1, the goal is always to restore, not condemn.
Purposing to love ‘em not shun ‘em,
- Plan a time to discuss your family’s standards on modesty with your husband. Find out what he believes is modest attire for your daughter, and what he feels is not proper.
- Have a joint discussion with your daughter about what your expectations are and explain why you are setting these standards up. This discussion time doesn’t have to be a big deal, but will most likely be better accepted if you have this discussion while you are shopping, doing laundry, or planning future clothing purchases, or even for special events.
- After you and your husband have set the framework of expectations on modesty for your family, ask him to take your daughter window shopping for father/daughter time. The average American Mall can offer a plethora of topics to talk about concerning immodesty and modesty. Oftentimes, a father’s beneficial influence is overlooked. Encourage your husband and daughter to have time together to discuss this important topic.
- What would you say if your daughter presents the point that God doesn’t care about what you wear, He only looks at the heart? 1 Samuel 16: 7 *Hint* Romans 14:13
- So what is worse, to be immodestly dressed or to have a prideful heart? Check out which one made God’s hate list! Prov. 6:16-19
As a ring of gold in a swine’s snout so is a lovely woman who lacks discretion.
Post and Ponder
- Must a young lady dress like her grandma in order to be modest? What resources have you discovered for modest dress for girls? Ladies, please share what you have found with the others doing this study!