Friday, June 2, 2006

Of Modesty and Men

My sister Lani and her three children were at my house last month. Her son Seth, who is 4, was hot. I told him that if his mama said it was okay, he could take his shirt off. Abby, his almost 3-year-old sister, asked if she could take her shirt off.

Trying to instill modesty early, Lani and I said simultaneously, "No. Seth is a boy, and you are a girl."

Seth said, "Why can't girls take their shirts off?"

I answered, "Because girls are special, and they have to keep themselves covered." Lani told him that girls grow into women with breasts, and breasts are private.

A little while later, Seth turned to his mom and said, "Boys aren't special."

At once, we both said, "Boys are very special - they're just special in a different way than girls."

"But boys aren't as special as girls - and we can take our shirts off," he insisted.

"Boys are just as special as girls. But they're different," I said. "Boys usually grow bigger muscles than girls, and can lift much heavier things." Finally, a smile.

Isaiah listened quietly to this whole conversation, and apparently thought about it for 12 days. Then in class at church one night, he pulled up his shirt to expose his navel to the class. When the teacher had persuaded him to put his shirt back down, he stated very loudly, "I can take my shirt off because I'm a boy. But girls have to keep their shirts on 'cause they have breast-es."

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