Sunday, March 24, 2013

Just look away...

I took my kids swimming this weekend.

Yes, it's currently weather best suited for polar bears outside, but my city was having a free event at the indoor pool, and we were in desperate need of a fun day filled with lots of activity.

I wasn't prepared for what happened.

My son, Eoin, is 5 1/2 years old.  And I realized too late that he is suddenly developing a sense of modesty, especially around the opposite sex.  Well, we had already had a busy morning filled with Easter egg hunts and strawberry pie making, and I brought our swim gear along so we could change in the locker room.  Unfortunately, my husband wasn't with us, so I had to take Eoin into the women's locker room with me.

It wasn't really a big deal when we arrived, because the locker room was empty, except for another mom who was changing a baby's diaper, so I was able to help Eoin get changed in a quick and discreet manner.  The problem arose when it was time for us to leave, as the locker room was full of people--moms and daughters, mostly--who needed to change into street clothes.  All at the same time.

I quickly ushered Eoin into one of the shower stalls, so that he could have some privacy while he got dressed.  I kind of put my hand over his eyes and told him to just look down at the floor, so that he wouldn't be seeing anyone who was changing.  And you know what?

He totally got it!

He and I were able to have a great conversation about how, as a young man, it's his responsibility to give girls respect, and to protect and guard his own heart and mind by just averting his eyes. 

I noticed a little later, as we were preparing to leave, another group of young girls came into the locker room.  They were all about 8-10 years old, and wearing the skimpiest of skimpy bikinis. He immediately dropped his gaze to the floor and kept it there until they left.  He said, "mom, at least they are wearing *something*...but I still think they're almost naked.  That doesn't seem right."

You're right, son.  It doesn't.

As a mom of a daughter, I'm pretty disgusted by our society's incessant need to sexualize our little girls earlier and earlier.  I am horrified to think that the world will try to convince her that all that she has to offer of any value lies between her legs, and not between her ears.  Even at 3 years old, I refuse to dress Reagan in anything that is too suggestive.  And every single day, I not only tell her that she is beautiful...but that she is Smart.  And Funny.  And Kind.  And Generous.  And Loved.  And Amazing.

But, as a mom of a son, I now see the issue from a new perspective.  As a society, we should be absolutely ashamed of what we are doing to little boys. Whether they are 5 or 25, boys are slammed all day--every day--with images and messages that seek to declare war on their flesh.

These not-so-subtle tactics of the enemy serve only one real purpose.  He strives to steal from them the precious knowledge of who they were created to be, replacing their joy and peace with shame and heartbreak.

What intentional tactics have you, as a parent, taken to guard your own children's hearts?

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