A few weeks ago at the fair I had the amazing realization that the girls' shorts keep getting shorter as the boys' hair keeps getting longer. My friend said that was just so you couldn't see the boys' eyes checkin' out the short shorts. I think she might be onto something, and just knowing that stage is nearing our household scares me.
Quoting another source, a Focus on the Family interview a few years ago really caught my attention, enough that I remember the message, if not the messenger. It said that when your child is a toddler, you are her role model; she'll model the behaviors she sees in you. When your child is pre-teen, you become her coach; you show her right from wrong and how to do what's right. But, when your child is a teenager, you become somewhat an observer; you can give all the advice in the world, but you are still on the sidelines, watching. In other words, you better get your message across loud and clear before the pubescent-deafness-to-parents sets in.
I've taken that message to heart when it comes to modesty and my daughters. It's hard, so hard, to fight fashion trends when they don't fit with your faith system. That fight is made easier when your family and your child is surrounded by positive role models and other families and children who agree with your views.
Then, there is the battle between being proud of your body and having a positive self-esteem, but balancing that with drawing a line about what is for public view.
And one more battle, and it's a big one: the EPIC battle between mothers and daughters when it comes to clothes.
Listing all these battle lines makes me even more grateful I married the man I did. No disrespect to single moms, because I know you can handle it too, but I'm grateful I have backup, and my back-up has experience as a middle school teacher to make the words out of his mouth ring true.
Thus became this year's "Daddy's Shorts Rule". Simply put, shorts may not be shorter than they are wider. If you are shopping for shorts, grab a pair of the same size. Turn one sideways. If it is wider than it is long, put it back and forget it.
It makes sense. It's so simple. It's objective. It's measurable. It's applicable to skirts. Why didn't I think of it two years ago?!
I can't even begin to tell you how many battles the Daddy's Shorts Rule has saved me this summer, and, by my estimations, for summers to come. Katie and Maggie went all over the mall today, pointing out shorts that didn't meet Daddy's Shorts Rule and tsking at those ladies wearing contraband shorts.
Now, I'm not so naive to think my daughter(s) aren't going to battle us on clothes in the coming years, or maybe try to sneak out wearing things that wouldn't meet our approval. And I'm certainly not judging the girls that are wearing the short-shorts now, because when I had the legs for it, I was right there with you. But, maybe my girls will wear shorts that are 5 inches long instead of 4. Maybe they'll wear shirts to concerts, instead of bikini tops. Maybe this coaching team has set some ground rules while their ears are still open. And maybe one-tenth of what we are saying will stick long enough to make it through puberty. Maybe modesty will still matter.
At least we're giving it our best shot.