“Brady, Meghan is sick; we should pray and ask Jesus to go be with her. Will you lead the prayer?” This is the simple question I asked my three year old one morning while we were sitting at breakfast. He took a breath, contemplated for a moment (he was in deep thought apparently coming up with a plan how Jesus would literally “go be with” Meghan), he folded his hands and said, “Jesus, get off the cross…(pause)….get modest…(pause)…and go be with Meghan.”
I couldn’t help but laugh and called all my friends who are moms. What kid says this??—Well, the kid of a mom who speaks about modesty! This was a proud moment in my life knowing that what I am trying to instill in my son is WORKING! Brady knows that Jesus isn’t modest on the cross, so Jesus would need to put some clothes on before He left the house. (Picture above is of the cross Brady is referring to.) Someday, I will explain to Brady why Jesus isn’t wearing very many clothes. I will explain what was done to Jesus in order to humiliate Him—to strip Him of his dignity. Interesting how this was such a punishment in Jesus’ time, but in this day and age, people do it to themselves—not realizing how it compromises their own dignity—their own mystery.
Modesty is to “refuse to unveil the mystery of who you are” (Catechism of the Catholic Church). Unfortunately, I meet so many young men and women who have rarely ever heard the word “modesty,” never even understood they are a great mystery and the need to protect that mystery. I meet tons of young people and married couples who feel jipped because they were never told about the importance of who they are, and if they would have understood their value and the beauty of their mystery, they would not have made some of the troubling choices they did.
Before marriage, I decided that when I had children, I was going to teach them about important words and concepts from the beginning, hoping that one day when challenges arose like a desire to dress skimpy or use their body to attract someone– that they would know their worth. I want them to know that they are not only my son and daughter but that of a King—a heavenly King—which makes them heirs to the Kingdom .
For my son, who may not struggle with modesty as much as my daughter (being a girl in the US), I still want him to know the beauty of modesty. I hope when he one day encounters overly-sized Victoria Secret models on billboards while walking through a mall or when a girl he likes dresses too sexy that he will know that there is something wrong. As he grows, I will teach him why modesty is important and why desiring others to dress modestly is important to his own virtue and theirs as well. I will share with him what I heard Blessed Pope John Paul II say once. He said, “Pornography is not wrong because it shows too much, it’s wrong because it shows too little. It shows a body without a soul and that is counterfeit.”
I always want my son and daughter to look at others and themselves in the most authentic way–as bodies with a mind and soul. I am realizing as a mother just how hard that is even at age three. It is incredibly difficult to shield my son’s eyes from immodesty when, especially in Arizona, we are surrounded by it, from magazines in the grocery stores, girls at the coffee shop, kids books, etc. All I can do is keep trying to help him form his little conscience to know why certain things are wrong—wrong because they attack the dignity of souls.
The other day, Brady opened a book a friend sent us from Australia. It was about a girl whose family kept giving her all these clothes, so by the end of the book, she had layers of clothes on, and on the last page she is in a tank top and underwear, all the clothes are on the floor, and she says, “Can I just get a pair of jeans.” I was surprised that the girl in the CHILDREN’s book was so immodest. Brady noticed it too and spoke up about it, saying, “Momma, she is not modest.” I said, “Well Brady, maybe she doesn’t know about her mystery; what do you say we draw some clothes on her and help her to be modest?” His eyes lit up, he ran and got me a black marker because he wanted her new outfit to be all black. We decided what kind of outfit we would draw on her, and so I drew right there on the book! (see picture). I loved the teamwork Brady and I had in doing this project. I also like that he saw that there isn’t anything we shouldn’t do to help others protect their dignity—even if it means drawing on a book. For weeks, when people came over, he would show them our great artwork and how we made “Jesse” (the main character), modest.
My prayer and hope is that this simple teaching will expand in his mind and heart to be an automatic thought as he grows older. I pray he will never view another human being—another human soul as an object or thing to use, and that he will always help protect his modesty in order to protect his dignity and that he will do the same for others! I pray he will never judge those who are immodest, but seek to teach them about their beautiful and special mystery.
As a side note, I will be posting my blogs every Wednesday for those of you who have been checking throughout the week. Thanks for reading! May God bless you and your families!