I try to teach a chastity/body/modesty – centered FHE at least annually. When my children were younger, we usually were fine with this happening once a year. As I prepared this FHE, I realized that this theme will need more than one FHE lesson. My oldest is 11. Talking about modesty/chastity/body image will take more than one Family Home Evening.
A lot has changed in the last year. We have moved, the girls are a year older (duh). My oldest daughter is sweet, yet seems to be taking on some of the “typical” teenage characteristics. She isn’t as open as she used to be. There are times when she’s a little defensive. She is also beginning to get more private and quiet. I know that this is a normal part of the process of growing up, but I still worry!
As I thought about this FHE, I realized I needed to get a baseline reading – of how the girls feel about their bodies. They don’t seem to talk about it much, but I wasn’t sure if they were starting to have doubts about their bodies. I think that for a lot of young women, they are tempted to dress immodestly and break the law of chastity because they have doubts about their self-worth. They begin to buy into the image that a woman is mostly a sexual being. Many young women feel like if they want to be considered valuable by another person – boy or girl – then they need to dress more provocatively. Young women want the acceptance of their friends and the boys they like. It is hard to remember that we are worth so much more than our sexuality.
Obviously, I wasn’t going to launch into a speech like that. Instead, we drew pictures.
We drew three abstract pictures using manila paper and oil pastels. Oh, and each of us, including me an Homey, drew. I didn’t want the girls to feel like they were on the spot.
First we drew what we liked about our bodies. Some of the things included: thin (Tiger), Creative Brain (Tiger), Silky Hair (Panda), Imagination (Panda), Fit (Homey), and Brain (Mom). I was interested to see that the girls tended to include things that were more aesthetic (thinness, pretty eyes), yet they also included functions of their body that were not visible (but just as important, if not more so!). I’m glad that they were able to recognize that they could find so many things they liked about their bodies. It is something I need to remember!
Next, we drew what we didn’t like about our bodies. This included: Chapped Lips (Tiger), Cavities (Panda), Migraines (Homey), and Appetite/Blobbiness (me). I was happy to see that the girls had a difficult time thinking up things that they didn’t like about their bodies. I thought of dozens of things I don’t like about my body. Some of them are the effects of age. Others are the effects of bad choices. And other things are simply ways I’m not being grateful for the blessings of a mortal body.
As usual, I think I learned the most from FHE.
I want my kids to have a good example in me. I want them to feel confident about their bodies. I want them to be happy.
For our third picture, we drew pictures of how we think Heavenly Father sees us. I hope that this is what my kids will remember. I know that I need to remember it. I know that Heavenly Father doesn’t see me as a lazy blob, so why do I choose to see myself that way? I recognize that by seeing myself differently than how Heavenly Father sees me means I’m listening to some other voice – not a good one. I want my children to remember they are beloved daughters of God, and that they can be (and in many ways are) the beautiful daughters he sees in them.
It was a nice family night.
What did you do for FHE? How do you keep your body image positive and healthy? How have you taught body image to your children?
For other FHE adventures, check out Jocelyn’s Blog.