Well it’s that time of year again…swim suit shopping. If you are the mother of a teenage daughter, you know that this time of year is something we dread. Since my daughter turned two, and I am not exaggerating, it has taken effort to find a cute, hip, modest swim suit. I have a friend who requested that I write a blog on how to help your teen daughter choose an appropriate bathing suit, so here you go.
I will confess that we have researched and will include a couple links at the close of the blog for some really cute, appropriate suits. I will also confess that I have balked on writing this post. I am not, do not consider myself to be, and do not want to be the morality police. I don’t think that I have the ability or authority to set guidelines for other families on what is appropriate and inappropriate dress or anything else for that matter.
I would more describe my position as a bystander on a beach front…I have seen many teenagers try to swim out in some pretty high seas. I have seen some of them bitten by the stealthier enemies who thrive in the chaos of the current. I have seen some of them taken down by very large squalls that can take out dozens of unsuspecting teens at once. And I have seen a few hang a perfect 10 as they literally surf right over the top of it. I feel like it is the Lord’s desire for all of us to simply say to those heading into the water, “Hey, not trying to butt in or steal your fun, but it seems to work best for the guys who…” or “You know, I’ve not seen a young man yet successfully swim straight into that 20 foot wave and make it out unscathed.”
That’s what I am trying to do here…just be a good on-looker.
As we all head to the stores for those summer duds…here are a few small thoughts I’d like us to consider.
What motivates us? I don’t want to minimize this at all. I know how hard the search for the suit can be and it pales in comparison to the argument you may have on your hands when you try to set guidelines. What motivates us as parents to set the guidelines we have chosen? If our biggest concern is that they feel like they are fitting in, that they are comfortable in what they are wearing, or that they are dressing in the most current styles…then maybe you have a little more wiggle room in the standards that you are setting. If our motivation is that we feel a certain conviction about their level of modesty, a conviction of the way they are representing themselves in front of teenage boys, or if we feel like their choice in suits is about protecting their dignity…then I think we need to hold our ground.
There are many things that I think are simply an ingrained part of the human experience and two of them are a desire to behold true beauty and the desire for the search.
“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us, or we find it not.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they are felt with the heart.” Helen Keller
Beauty is something that our daughters carry with them. It is what they say, how they act and how they love. It is the way they represent themselves as a daughter of the King. Beauty is who they are. Beauty is something to be protected and is valuable enough to be sought. Not freely handed out to anyone who happens by…beauty is something that is revealed over time and through relationship.
Beauty is something our sons seek. Searching for it only increases its value and makes it precious. Sure, a young man notices bodies in immodest swimming suits but all they’ve earned is a few moments of attention. The search for true beauty continues…
My heart for my own teenage daughter is to realize that as Cinderella’s fairy Godmother said, “Even miracles take time.” I want her to know that beauty is something that she is, and it will take her husband his whole life long to find each aspect of that beauty. I want her to know that beauty is carried in the way she speaks to people, the way she makes eye contact and to see others for who they really are, the she pursues her heavenly Father, and the way she dresses and presents herself.
“She warned him not to be deceived by appearances for beauty is found within.” Beauty and the Beast. I want my teenage son to know that beauty is worth the time it takes to discover it. As Marie Stopes puts it, “You can take no credit for beautiful at sixteen, but if you are beautiful at sixty, it will be your souls own doing.” I want him to know that the King has a beautiful bride chosen for him and her beauty will come from within…it sounds like a whisper and it looks like white snow. Beauty understands its value and she leaves it to be protected by the King until He gives her the nod that this young man understands it.
I know this blog was about swimming suits…but I’d rather be searching for true beauty than trying to distract my eyes from teenagers who have mistaken theirs for skimpy swimming suits. Happy shopping!
“Let the King be enthralled by your beauty; honor Him for He is your Lord.” Psalm 45:11
Here are the links we promised.