Dear Daughter, Let’s Talk About Boys and Clothes Pt. I

Modesty

Dear Daughter,

Spring is arriving and with it proms, passions, and new fashions. You’re old enough now to be aware of the world around you. You may have noticed that the world contains funny, awkward, smelly, and sometimes, cute boys. These creatures have weird powers to influence you to dress, talk, or act certain ways. I’m writing this short series of notes to let you in on the secret mind of the male as it relates to how you dress and act. Most girls do not understand what I am about to tell you. Consequently, they dress, talk, and act in ways that will cause the opposite effect they are searching for. I want to share with you what guys think about what girls wear and give you insight into the positive power of modesty.

This message is so vital for you because society is telling you that to be feminine is to be erotic.  Sociologists are calling this phenomenon the pornographication of our girls. If you buy into this lie, you will try to find power in sexual appeal but what you won’t see is that you simply become a tool for some man’s selfish gratification. This power is fleeting, for in the exchange, you lose the dignity and value that is your deepest desire.  And you will resemble God less and less; losing the very basis of your dignity.

Because men are relatively simple, they can be pretty predictable.  God has wired them internally to respond almost subconsciously to certain situations, not the least of which is how girls dress.  God has wired men to be visually-oriented.  Much of the input that comes into their brain comes through their eyes.

When we are around females, (which is much of the time because they consist of half the world’s population.) we not only see with our eyes, we think with our eyes.  We are highly tuned to two things: beauty and conquest.  We want a beauty to rescue and a challenge to conquer.  This is how we are wired.  How you dress and present yourself will tap into these instincts. You can harness these traits with the power of your femininity to your advantage or let them work against you.  It’s your choice to make.

Because guys are wired to respond visually; females can get attention by dressing immodestly.  Immodesty does have the power of attraction.  However, you must be careful what you attract. Immodesty has great power to draw males with predatory instincts.

Predators think mostly of themselves and their gratification and they don’t care who they hurt along the way.  Princes, on the other hand, are strong, godly guys who want nothing more than to spend their lives on behalf of the people and principles that are important to them.

Immodesty does have the power of attraction, but it’s the predators you’ll attract.

Modesty however, has the power to attract men of princely character, as well as the extra power of retention.  The girl that has the strength of character to dress modestly wherever she goes — at school, the beach, the mall — has great power to keep the attention and interest of the right kind of guys. Because she is confident that her beauty is not only vested in her body, but her mind and her soul as well. This is a girl who will grow more beautiful as she ages. This type of girl is highly attractive to the prince.

I spent a year studying and filming regarding this topic.  We finished with a short documentary called “What Guys Think About What Girls Wear.”  One of the questions we asked guys was: When you see a girl dressed immodestly, are what are your thoughts toward her? Do your thoughts lend themselves to a long term relationship or short term?  Every boy said, “Short term.”

What I found is that guys look at girls that are immodest and they make instant judgments, “thinking with their eyes.”  When we asked, “What are your initial thoughts regarding a girl who is dressed immodestly?” here were some of the responses:

“They have a need that they have unmet in their life, maybe something they didn’t get from their father, like love and acceptance.”

“She has a complex about the way she looks and is trying to reveal herself in other ways to attract attention.”

“Need for attention; bad judgment”

“…maybe immoral (easy), snap judgment, she’s immoral, or maybe insecure, trying to show off.”

“Crying for attention”

That she’s immoral (easy), doesn’t care about herself, trashy, just a woman, property to be owned.”

Miuccia Prada, who runs the fashion empire, Prada, spoke about this in an interview in GQ magazine,

 “With women, the more unhappy they are, the more undressed they are. This is true. Dignity’s another very important part of this…You have to have dignity for your body—this is with men and women. You need to have dignity towards how you are, how you dress, how you behave. Very important.”

How you act and how you dress is simply an outward reflection of your inward attitude.  If your outward appearance screams “needy, immoral, insecure,” guy’s that have their act together will not want anything to do with you. You will be perceived as too much drama.  Guys that see an opportunity for sexual gratification, however, will put up with the drama for a while, then move on.

Let me add that this is no attempt to let guys off the hook.  They, too, must possess the self-control and discipline necessary to reflect godly character.  Each of us must do our part to reflect Christ in this broken culture.  But as a father, my heart is to protect you and help you understand how to safely walk through this season of your life.  We will talk more about this later. This is enough to chew on for now. God has gifted you with the power of femininity, allow it to blossom in healthy ways and your fragrance will enrich the world.

There is No Pill for “Can’t”

I’ve recently been working as a tutor and self-defense instructor for a group of junior-high and high- school boys through the Joseph Center. The Joseph CeGame in a mobile phone is more interesting, than on the pianonter is a ministry devoted to helping boys mature into men who know who they are as sons (adopted by their heavenly Father), leaders, lovers, protectors and providers. More than once I’ve come home grieved at where they are as young men. (Not all of them for sure. But enough to spot a trend.)

It comes down to this: There is no pill for “can’t.” 

My partners and I do our best to challenge and call them up to the level of their potential but more often than not we are thwarted by a blockage in their mind of “can’t.” One day after class, one of our leaders said of one boy, “It’s my goal this entire semester to get (boys name) to stop making excuses. Every time I ask him to do something, he has an excuse why he can’t.”

Winners find a way, losers find an excuse.

Somewhere along the line for these boys, “can’t” became convenient. “I’m not a good test taker.” “I’m not good at math.” “I have ADD.” “I’m not a good reader.” One after another, the excuses flow from their mouths like well-rehearsed lines of some kind of mantra.

While each of these boys deal with complex situations at home, somewhere early in their life, the adults stopped expending the energy to expect excellence and started tolerating excuses for poor performance. Yes, it takes energy to expect and even more energy to inspect. But the adults in a child’s life — starting with the PARENTS — must create a culture where “can’t” is a dirty word. God has given each of these boys incredible potential. Many will graduate below grade level in every subject because somewhere in their life people stopped expecting and they started tolerating mediocrity and worse.

We have found ways to medicate and pacify our young men but I have news – you can’t medicate “can’t”. You can only lay out healthy, high expectations and strong, real consequences for not meeting them. Many of these boys struggle with basic math – addition, multiplication, and so forth. Most of these boys suffer not from ADD but from “Lazy Brain Syndrome.” They do not struggle because they are mentally impaired, they struggle because somebody gave up on them and allowed them to settle for “can’t” because “smart” is hard.

If your son cannot read and perform basic skills then you have the power to stop their life until they get it right. It is not the teacher’s fault. They don’t go home with your son. Pull out their pacifier (television, the internet and video games) and pull out the old-fashioned flash cards and get busy. I don’t care if they’re bored. I don’t care if they whine. No dinner before we drill the 12-multiplication family! You control the food supply! Their room has a door and a circuit breaker, doesn’t it? The door can come off and the breaker can be switched off! Switch off the breaker and switch on their brain! They will need it! And we need them to bring forth their talents to bless the world!

A young man walked in today for the tutoring session with a comic book. I said, “What’s this?” “Homework,” he said. “They let you read a comic book for literature class?” came my astounded reply.  “Yup, because the other books bore me.” Somewhere along the line, a teacher and a parent said that this boy’s entertainment is more important than his education. We have lowered the bar.

Last week during my mentoring session with a third-grade boy, the teacher suggested we play the “calculator game.” I asked, “What’s the calculator game?”  “You get a dry erase board, the student gets a calculator and he calls out math problems and you race to see who can get the answer faster.” I questioned, “You mean, I get the calculator and he gets the dry-erase board?“No, he gets the calculator and you get the dry-erase board.” My reply, “I already passed the third grade.” I took the dry-erase board and left the room grieved as the young man used the calculator to solve 10 + 3.

I realize not everyone has the same academic capacity. I recognize the classroom is not suited for all learning styles, but no learning, no achievement, no success will come with “can’t” in the way.

A generation ago, men rode on the end of a missile all the way to the moon using a slide-rule and some guts. Now, too many of our children have people in their lives that have fooled them into thinking that a productive, healthy life can be carved out on this rock without, blood, sweat, and tears. And the students have trained the adults in their life to lower the bar so they can step over it without straining themselves — they just say the magic words, “I can’t.”

 

 

Messing with Marriage — Teasing a Tiger

tigerMy daughter and I visited the Lincoln Park zoo recently. As we approached the tiger pen, I looked with amazement at the lengths the zoo went to in order to keep the tigers and people separated. A small fence separated by a tall fence, separated by a large mote. All so we could enjoy the majesty and glory of the tiger without experiencing his destructive power. It reminded me of the boys in San Francisco who relentlessly teased a tiger at the zoo until she surprised them by jumping out of her enclosure and attacked.

Our culture is teasing a tiger. We are smugly tearing down the fence of marriage. As if we invented it, we declare traditional marriage (there really is no other kind) to be an outdated, puritanical, oppressive institution. Like any destructive force, it destroys faster than we can realize the full implications of its destruction. If we tear down this fence, we will momentarily look around and declare – “See, everything is fine, those religious rednecks were simply stupid” — then the tiger will stalk. We can quickly tear down fences, but societies erode slowly, almost imperceptibly. Please allow me to share with you just a few reasons why marriage matters.

Marriage helps hold the fabric of society together.

In his book Family and Civilization, Harvard Sociologist, Carle Zimmerman compared the disintegration of various cultures with the parallel decline of family life in those cultures. He identified no less than eight specific patterns of domestic behavior typified the downward spiral of each culture he studied.

  • Marriage loses its sacredness; it is frequently broken by divorce.
  • Traditional meaning of the marriage ceremony is lost.
  • Feminist movements abound.
  • Public disrespect for parents and authority in general increased.
  • Juvenile delinquency, promiscuity, and rebellion accelerate.
  • People with traditional marriages refuse to accept family responsibilities.
  • Desire for and acceptance of adultery grow.
  • Interest in and spread of sexual perversions and sex-related crimes increase.

He wrote this book in 1947; it appears to be prophetic.

Marriage Helps Society Progress Culturally

Joseph Unwin was a noted British anthropologist of Cambridge and Oxford of the last generation.  His comprehensive study called Sex and Culture shows how the sexual morals of a culture impact the cultural advancement of that society.  He studied eight civilized and un-civilized cultures over several hundred years of history.

He divided cultures into four categories:

  1. Primitive (zoistic) –builds no temples, no thought out ideas about the universe and how it works.  No rituals for their dead.
  2. Semi-Primitive (manistic) – slightly more advanced, still no temples, have a few post-funeral rituals for their dead, a few vague ideas about how the universe works and the powers behind it.
  3. Deistic – Builds temples, employs priests in order to maintain a right relationship with the powers of the universe
  4. Rationalistic – this group is the only one that can be called cultured.  Developed a logical understanding of the universe, which allows its people to control their environment to a degree.  Elaborate rituals to mark important life events.

What he found was that in each culture, there was a direct correlation between what they taught about sex and marriage and their cultural advancement.  If a culture had a low view of marriage and sexual morality, they lacked what he calls, “expansive energy.”  Those cultures that had a high view of marriage and sexual morality within the marriages had great cultural expansive energy which is dedicated to cultural enhancement.

Glen Stanton, a social research analyst, referring to Unwin’s study writes, “Those cultures that allow sexual freedom do not display this kind of social energy and are consistently of a lower order.  They are slothful because their energy is consumed with meeting their physical appetites.  Therefore, they do not have interest or energy to invest in cultural improvements.  In these cultures, life is for now.” 

Clearly, our culture is in decline.  Many of our cities are dying from the inside out.  There are a number of places within our own borders where it is not safe to travel.  We are so self-indulgent and lacking personal discipline that our national and personal debt is threatening to strangle our financial viability and freedom as a people. The news headlines are getting more gory and bizarre.  Our law enforcement officials are consistently over-worked.  The dockets in our court systems are growing longer and longer.   Sexually transmitted diseases are rampant and getting worse.

We as a society are having to expend tremendous amounts of material, emotional and creative resources simply trying to hold our society together, let alone applying those resources toward advancing ourselves a civilization.  While marriage breakdown isn’t the only factor in this decay, it is one of the largest ones.

Marriage is oppressive, we want to be liberated from it?  Like the fish wants out of the bowl.  He finds that where he was wasn’t so bad.

Marriage matters to your children. It provides the best atmosphere for raising children.
Children raised with a married mom and dad are:

  • Seven times less likely to live in poverty
  • Six times less likely to commit suicide
  • Less than half as likely to commit a crime
  • Less than half as likely to become pregnant out of wedlock
  • Achieve better grades
  • Have better social skills
  • Are more healthy physically and emotionally as adults

Marriage matters to you: Makes for happier healthier adults.

The mountain of research is now in and one of the most consistent findings is that men and women do markedly better in all measures of specific and general well-being compared to their unmarried counterparts.

  • Married couples are healthier physically
  • Healthier mentally
  • Less prone to addictions, suicide, and stress
  • Live longer
  • Enjoy a more fulfilled life

This is rarely mentioned in the news about marriage. Marriage is much more than a legal arrangement.  Marriage truly makes a positive difference in the lives of men and women.

Some say marriage is an outdated, oppressive institution.  They say it’s time to admit that traditional marriage might have run its course.  Social evolution demands we progress to more enlightened forms of the family and child rearing.

My advice — don’t tear down a fence before you pause long enough to find out why it was put there in the first place.  You might find it was guarding the pen of a tiger.