Revive Our Hearts Podcast

Dad's Involvement

Leslie Basham: When we’re talking with our kids about clothing, passions can run high. Here’s some advice from Nancy Leigh DeMoss.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: Don’t be in it to win the argument. Because if you are argumentative in your spirit, you’re sinning; you’re wrong. Don’t expect your child to want to obey God if, in the way you are handling it, you are violating the very principles of God’s Word yourself.

Leslie Basham: It’s Friday, June 16th, and this is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. All week we’ve been talking about kids and modesty. Nancy has helped us understand the heart of modesty and has instructed us on how to teach our kids about this important topic. Today we’ll consider the role of a very important person in the process. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy: We’ve been talking about how to teach your children the ways of God. And can I just say that it’s so important that you start when they’re young?

Don’t start teaching your children these principles when they’re 15 years old and all of a sudden you’ve got an issue with the way that they’re dressing. That is going to ensure a big scene in your house, maybe an explosion.

Lay the foundation early. It’s amazing, when children are just taught what is proper and what is appropriate—when little girls are taught, again not in an overbearing way, but just in simple, pure ways, to keep their dresses down when they are little girls—then these are things that are going to go with them into life. They are principles and foundations that you will have laid when they were little.

Now, I want to tie into that the principle of involving your husband and the father of your children wherever possible. I realize that there are some who are raising their children as single moms, and God will give you grace to be able to train your children, if necessary, in that way.

But where there is a dad in the home . . . and hopefully there is a dad who is involved; and even if there’s not, there may be other men that you can involve in appropriate ways in the lives of your daughters.

I asked for some input from a dad I know on this subject, and here’s what he said. He said, “I always challenge the men that it’s their job to approve or disapprove of the clothing that the women in their home wear.”

And I know, by the way, that we have some dads who listen to Revive Our Hearts. Could I just appeal to you men, as a woman, and say, “As women, we need you. We need you to take your role, take your place.” And women, let me say to you, “Let the dad, the husband, have the proper role in this area.”

This dad goes on to say, “The reason that it’s the man’s job is that a man knows what will attract the eye of another man.” As much as Mom may want to help her daughter dress modestly, she simply doesn’t see the way a man does.

“We are wired differently,” this man says. “Moms need to send their daughters to their fathers for approval. Ladies as well,” he suggests, “go to your husband for his input and his approval on what you’re wearing.”

Then this dad said something I thought was so wise. He said, “I’ve instituted this in our home while my girls are two and six. Every time they get a new outfit, we have a little fashion show for dad.”

“I know there could be very little that a two-year-old or six-year-old could wear that would be considered immodest. But I realized that if I try to institute that when they’re twelve or sixteen, they are going to laugh in my face. By starting now, my hope is that they will still be coming to me then because it has been the normal pattern in our home.”

So, encourage your husband that you want and need to have him involved in the process of training your daughters.

And then—this is true for moms and for dads, and especially important, I think, for dads to realize this—they need to affirm their daughters for true spiritual beauty and for godly character, and not to place an over-emphasis on physical beauty.

Dads, it means so much to a daughter to have a dad affirm her for her modesty—because she may go to school or out into the world and find that nobody else is affirming her for being modest.

But if she knows that her dad affirms her for that, and her mom as well, then she’s not going to be as driven to seek approval from men who value immodesty.

And then, moms—and again, I would include dads in this—believe it or not, shop with your daughters. Don’t just send your daughters out with their peers to make all their own shopping decisions.

Now, obviously, we’re talking about different ages, different phases here; there should come a point when they can be sent out to do this and will do it wisely, make wise choices.

But early on, make it a practice to shop with your daughters. Shop prayerfully, and realize that it’s likely going to take more time and money to clothe your children modestly than it would take to purchase trendy or immodest clothing. That’s just the way it is.

I have a friend named Devi Titus who is a godly woman. She’s a virtuous woman. In fact, years ago she founded the magazine called Virtue magazine. Some of you may remember that.

This woman has a real heart for modesty and for godliness, and I asked her to just come up with some insights that might be helpful for moms when it comes to training daughters. Let me read to you some of the things that she wrote.

Devi said, “A friend of mine transitioned her teen from the girls’ department to the ladies’ department—sizes 2, 4, 6—and avoided the junior department, in between the girls and the ladies, because so many things in the junior department are promoting seductive and fad dressing.”

Devi goes on to say, “Set boundaries of what is allowed and what is not, and let your girls choose within those boundaries. Give options and freedom for expression where there are not moral or spiritual issues involved. It’s okay for them to have their own tastes.”

Then she said, “If they select something that’s inappropriate or even borderline, ask them the question (for example, regarding a neckline), ‘Do you think this is too revealing?’ If they say no and you think yes, remember, this is why you are their mother. They still need you to help govern their hearts until their inner virtues are formed. You make the decision for them.” And I would just say, “Moms, remember your role.”

There are moments when your calling is not to be your child’s best friend. That will come later. But you do have to be the mother.

Devi also went on to say, “Encourage and support your children, and be willing to continue shopping to find the right garment. Do not settle. Often you will need to be willing to pay more for the clothing you buy. The less expensive teen stores carry skimpy, provocative clothing.”

Then she told an illustration that I thought was so practical and really was an encouragement. She said,

I took my sixteen-year-old granddaughter shopping for a special occasion dress—a dress that she could wear for a special school event, to church, or to sing on stage with a singing group that she joined.

This is a very difficult challenge. The beautiful body that God has given her only increases her responsibility to cherish it and keep herself pure.

After trying on fifteen or more dresses that day, we could not find one that she loved and that matched our standard of elegance and modesty. We were both tired and frustrated.

Just when I reluctantly agreed to a particular dress, planning to create a modesty panel for the deep V neckline, I strolled once again through the department, silently praying, ‘Lord, help us! You see this situation.’ Immediately, I spotted a dress that neither of us had been previously attracted to.

As soon as we zipped it up, she turned and looked in the mirror and said, ‘Oh, Mimi, this is it!’ The dress was perfect. She was beautiful and reflected immediately the glory of the Lord.

The moral of the story: Don’t settle for something less than the standard that God puts on your heart.

Now, let me just say as a caution, moms—some of you have teenage daughters—if you have not been cultivating a relationship with your daughter all along, if you don’t have her heart and if you’ve not taught principles of modesty all along since she was a little girl, don’t start all at once to say, “We’re going to learn modesty and practice modesty today.”

Don’t throw the book at your kids, if for all the years leading up to their being fifteen, you haven’t been cultivating a relationship, prayerfully engaging your daughter’s heart, and teaching the basic principles.

And then this is so important: Keep the big picture in mind. Don’t lose perspective. Remember the objective, and keep in mind the long haul, which is far more important than the immediate argument about this particular item of clothing. Remember that you are discipling your daughters to be women of God.

And that’s hard. It’s hard for you; it’s hard for them. It’s a challenge, and there will be times when they feel so pulled by their desire to be accepted—the desire to fit in—and that’s not all wrong. But there are lines that you’re going to know they can’t cross, and that will mean at times that you will have to endure the frowns or the anger of your children.

Now, don’t provoke that by your spirit. Don’t provoke it unnecessarily. But, if it has to happen that they don’t agree with you . . .

I can think back to my teenage years, of some disagreements I had with my mother and with my dad in particular areas. I’m so glad that my parents were in it for the long haul, that they were in it for the outcome; and that they were willing, where needed, to stand their ground, and at times to back down and realize that this was not a matter of right and wrong.

Sometimes it was a matter of preference, and my mom tells me this now, there were times when they just said, “This is not a battle that we think we need to fight right now with our children.”

God will give you wisdom as to which is which. But, remember that you are doing something—when you are standing your ground, when you are holding the line—for a greater outcome, and it’s the heart, the life, the future of your daughter or your son. Deuteronomy 6:3 says, Obey these laws so “that it may go well with you.” That’s what you want for your daughters.

Don’t be in it to win the argument. Because if you are argumentative in your spirit, you’re sinning, you’re wrong! Don’t expect your child to want to obey God if in the way you are handling it, you are violating the very principles of God’s Word yourself.

So Titus 2 says, “Train the young women,” train your daughters, “to be self-controlled, [to be] pure . . . that the Word of God may not be reviled. . . . so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior” (verses 4-5, 10).

That’s what you’re after. Hang in there! Remember the outcome, and go for that. Trust God to work in the heart of your daughters and your sons as you’re teaching what is proper, what is fitting, and what adorns the Gospel of Christ.

Leslie Basham: That’s Nancy Leigh DeMoss talking with us about how to discuss modesty with our children in a way that will encourage them.

If you have a daughter at home, we want to help you get involved in her life. Elizabeth George has written a book called A Young Woman After God’s Own Heart. It challenges girls to incorporate biblical truth in all areas of life, and it comes with study questions that you and your daughter can go through together.

You can order the book by calling 800‑569‑5959, or go online to www.ReviveOurHearts.com.

Once you do talk with your daughter about this topic, would you let us know how it went? And if you’re facing challenges in this area, we’ll pray for you. Just contact us at our website.

When you get in touch with us, would you consider giving to this ministry? Your gift will help us with our mission to call women to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ, and to call girls to freedom, fullness, and fruitfulness in Christ. We’d love you to be a part of this ministry with us.

On Monday Nancy will talk more about speaking with our kids on the subject of modesty and how it goes beyond a set of rules, but is something that comes out of the heart. Have a great weekend, and join us again for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

All Scripture is taken from the English Standard Version.

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