I’m not sure when parents began debating the so-called “sheltering” of children, but I’m pretty sure the conversation became far more significant when television was invented—that is, when we allowed culture to invade our lives.
I tend to fall into the let’s-shelter-our-kids camp—at least for youngsters—but I’ve come to a simple conclusion: It’s impossible. For instance …
My 3-year-old daughter and I recently were sitting at the newest restaurant in town, sharing a Reuben sandwich and a plate of fries while coloring our favorite animals, when her eyes caught the image on one of the overhanging TV sets.
“Daddy, she’s naked!”
I took a quick look at the television to see what she was referencing—it was, if you’re curious, “Entertainment Tonight”—and then told her in a reassuring voice, “You’re right. We need to pray that woman finds some clothes.”
Legally and technically, my daughter was wrong: The woman, a model, wasn’t naked. But biblically and practically? My daughter was right on the mark. And I was proud of her.
God clothed Adam and Eve with animal skin in the garden (Genesis 3:21), but ever since, Calvin Klein and Abercrombie & Fitch and every other designer and store have been trying to remove it, inch by inch. Their creations in ritzy New York studios create a domino effect: sold in stores, bought by teens, and then returned by parents. But it’s not just Christian families who have weekly “you’re not going out like that!” arguments. This issue crosses ideological and cultural boundaries.
Scripture says we are to kill desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:24) but immodesty does just the opposite, bringing it back to life and encouraging its captives to strut around like a boastful half-naked peacock.
Of course, we shouldn’t simply blame fashion designers for this problem. Their clothes wouldn’t have gone over well with, say, the Pilgrims or even Colonial Americans. We as a society buy those clothes, and this issue often is a matter of the heart.
Still, there are practical steps parents can take to raise modest children in an immodest world. Here are three: