I adore having little girls. Many times I get lost in their beauty, am amazed at their innocence and trust, and revel at their childlike faith. I am captivated by the precious gifts before me, and I take their future and safety very seriously. I realize a few things.
For one, I am solely responsible for their virtue.
I cannot place the task on their friend’s mom or even my own family, and while I have a few trusted family members who help me with their care, I am aware that in the end it is my responsibility to raise my girls right, protect them from any and all harm, and lead them towards a bright and fulfilling future. While there are so many factors that could arise that are out of my control, there are still many issues that I can have a huge hand in to ensure the outcome is more likely a positive one for them.
For one, I don’t surround my daughters with music that teaches them to objectify their bodies. I can’t understand why pop culture persists with half-naked women shaking their rumps to eager eyes. With the surge of feminine rights it just doesn’t seem to coincide, yet strangely it does. Society teaches our daughters to show all parts of their body freely, to get what they want by using their sexual prowess, but demand that we aren’t judged by our pant’s or cup size. Not sure how that works.
So we dress our tiny tots in shorts that cut into their rear and post on social media funny videos of them dancing like an adult pop star. We laugh and laugh as they twerk, but it’s not cute. Not to me.
Little girls dancing like grown women.
It’s not cute.
Makeup and adult clothing on toddlers. Sexy Halloween costumes.
It’s not cute.
And then there’s this little fact.
The world is cruel, and it is full of bad people.
People who don’t have the best intentions. People who wish to harm others, take advantage of the weak, and other unspeakable atrocities. Remember when I said it was our responsibility to protect their virtue? It is! And we are in a battle against the world. It’s a world that wishes to teach them to use their bodies to get what they want. It’s a world that teaches them to base their self-worth on their outward appearance, the attention they can garner, and how many likes or followers they can get to prove they’re good enough. Everyone wants to go viral, but what about being unique? What about loving yourself for being true to you? And what about parents teaching healthy self-worth right from the start?
What if we teach our children that they’re worth more than brand names or the perfect filter? How about teaching them that their body is a temple, made by God, and perfect in His design? What if we then showed them how to respect their temple, respect themselves, and respect those around them? What if we gave them positive role models, praise without props and pictures, and protection from the world that would try to harm them?
It’s definitely outside of today’s norm, but maybe it’s okay to be different. Maybe it’s just fine and dandy. Perhaps kids can be kids, wear clothing that doesn’t look like they’re headed to a magazine, photo shoot, and we can think as parents before we act. We can ask ourselves things like, “what am I teaching my child when I put them in booty shorts and tell them to drop it like it’s hot.”
And forgive me if my slang is off. I really have no idea. My point is, I think our children are the future, and I think we owe our children the best future possible. They don’t know what faces them out there. It’s our job to train them up the way they should go, equip them properly, build their esteem, but also maintain self-worth. It’s our responsibility to not only teach them that they’re precious, but also model for them how they can walk confidently in that high standard. They’re so much more than the bodies they haven’t even grown into yet, but they count on us to teach them that. The world will try its best to go in opposition to maintaining their virtue, so our job as loving parents is to keep it and their sweet spirits intact.
This article originally appeared at BrieGowen.com.