I am the happy, busy mom of three kiddos. I have two talkative girls and one lively 9-year-old boy sandwiched between them on the familial timeline. Raising a boy is no easy task. My mental hat goes off to ANY mom that has more than one boy. Boys' issues are so very different than girl's issues. As my little guy grows older and my ever-vigilant gaze sweeps over our culture, I am becoming increasingly aware of what I need to teach him in the realm of women and modesty.
Modesty is not just a women's issue. No matter how many times we blog about it, no matter how many modest clothes we purchase, let's face it, our boys are going to need to adapt some hefty visual survival skills in this world. There are a plethora of visual snares and traps that our sons are going to struggle with and be tempted by and, realistically, I know that they ARE going to see things no matter how hard we try to protect them.
My little guy, Jacob, is the happiest little man. He has a huge sunny smile, a contagious laugh and these heartbreakingly big brown eyes with an enviable set of eyelashes. (Why do the boys always get the good lashes?) He is so full of life and vitality that there are times when my mother's heart just aches b/c I know the struggles and temptations that he's going to eventually face as he matures into young adulthood.
My husband and I have begun preparing him with tips and tools that he's going to need to employ when he becomes the man of honor that we are guiding him to be. Dialogue about modesty, modest women and how a real man averts his gaze when an immodest situation presents itself has become more commonplace in our household lately. When we pass the magazine rack in the grocery store, I encourage all of my kids to avert their eyes and I explain to them that viewing women in various states of undress damages both developing girlhood's self-esteem and developing boyhood's view and respect of women.
We wish for our son to hold women in high esteem. I do not want him to view a woman as a visual object, simply there to gratify his lust on the glossy, impersonal pages of a magazine. I know that many might disagree with this line of thought and argue that there's no harm in looking....but....there is harm....great harm.
Every journey begins with one step and I firmly believe that future lust, spousal dissatisfaction, infidelity, pornographic addiction and sexual violence start with just a simple look, a tiny thought....a small seed of lust. It begins with a young, impressionable mind, encouraged to view images that aren't reality, images that mercilessly chip away at the dignity of women and the respect that used to be so commonly due them.
No, that is not what I want for my son. While I cannot protect him from it all, I CAN give him the tools, the warnings and the invaluable instruction to help him stand strong in the face of visual temptation.
I want him to know the rich fullness and satisfaction of his future wife's love. I want him to value her and not have his mind cluttered with the ridiculous images that our culture is so fond of ingesting.
For him to value a woman, he must learn to follow his father's example and avert his eyes, change the channel, throw away the magazine and choose integrity.
Now is the time to instruct the next generation of men to value women. Your son's future depends on it, his future marriage and mental health depends on it--not to mention the stability of society in general.