So now that we are into the full swing of summer, how are all you moms doing out there? I don't know about you, but having my girls dress modestly for the summer months was something that I just assumed would happen. Silly me!!
Here we go ladies, does this sound like your house in any way? Somehow, I think that I'm not alone. Nowadays, an occasional summer outing for my girls is a trip to the mall with their friends and without me. Never did I give much thought to what they would purchase, as I am usually with them when making clothing purchases. Recently, my daughter came back from the mall with some pretty "interesting" pieces, so I felt it necessary to lay down some ground rules. Of course these ground rules were met with adverse commentary like, "That's the style mom," or "Mom, you see this in every store," or my most despised teen rationale is "Everyone is wearing it/them."
Another summer outing that has become particularly sensitive in our house is a trip to the pool. All I should have to do is corral them and get them in the car, right?? Well, almost…this time, and somehow I must have "missed" the opportunity the to view one of these newer mall purchases, when alas...my daughter comes down with a "cover-up" which barely covers up anything. With the hang tags cut off, this new swimwear accessory is non-returnable. Now I have an unhappy daughter AND an item that goes into the garage sale pile!
Truly, I know that I am not alone. I think that we, as moms and as parents, are in an uphill battle in helping to shape our children's minds, as well as their souls. When things like this happen, I persevere and gently preach to them…trying not to scold them but educate them. My kids refer to these talks as "peptures." A "pepture" is a word created by my kids to describe one of my many rants; which according to them, is somewhere between a pep talk and a lecture…thus the name "pepture." In our house, there is no pepture more important than the one that has to do with their modesty in dress and their humility in character. I'm afraid the world is not giving them that same message; and the fallout from that is going to be, and already has been, devastating to our society. This is the society that our kids will inherit. I seem to bump up against these societal norms each and every time I want to express to my children how God wants us to live vs. how the world expects us to live.
That being said, I am blessed. Truly I am. My children enjoy my peptures and my active role in their lives for the most part. Still... I feel like I need to challenge myself to be the best parent I can be and with summer upon us, it makes me realize all the more how important modesty is, not only to our girls. but to society as a whole. In one of my most favorite Mother Angelica episodes, Mother Angelica pointed out that if we, as parents, let our daughters out of the house with such immodest clothing, popularized by modern culture, we make them an occasion of sin to men. Think about that. Yikes!! And now that you have read this, you now have the TRUTH and will be expected to help your daughters make good choices when it comes to modest fashions!!!
My challenge for myself this summer is a simple one and I offer this challenge to you as well. Talking AT the kids all the time about what seems to be the same old, same old thing to them…may eventually fall on deaf ears. I once heard this saying that helps me pull back in times like these instead of lashing out with words. In fact, I love this next quote, but don't know who said it…in fact I was curious, so I googled it, but I can't find the person to credit it to…but the saying goes something like this…"Stop talking to your kids about God and start talking to God about your kids." This dialog between God and me about my kids in a very specific way is just starting to evolve for me. Sure, I used to always pray for them before bed at night, upon waking and at mass…but now, in the trying world that we are inhabiting, I feel that it is all the more necessary to be a lot more specific and vocal so that my prayer opens a greater dialog between me and the One who made me. So whether it is a teen wardrobe challenge; an ACT score in the 30's; breaking a school record in Track and Field; or a bullying issue, I am going straight to my God with ALL the details: either through adoration or just at my bedside, and I am talking to God about my kids and the challenges that we face as a family and what I want specifically, if it be His most perfect will. My life is changing in a beautiful way and I hope the same for you.
God wants an active dialog with us. Even in these hot summer months, where I feel like I'm challenged nearly every day to discuss the length and fit of shorts or a bathing suit worn with the straps on, I need Him. The true gift is when I realized that I don't have to continuously yell or even discuss it…instead I can go to God about the reasons for my yelling…and guess what? The yelling gets less. Take your "preaching" about your kids to God so that He can find ways to preach to you. That's my challenge for these hot summer months and beyond... and I share this with you so that you may discover a similar result when you accept this challenge as well. He is waiting.
Until next time...
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