Not only does modesty mean being humble and free from vanity and conceit, it also means simple, big enough but not huge, such as a modest home or a man of modest means. To dress modestly is to wear clothing that does not call attention to yourself. For women, this means covering their privacy, dressing demurely and with dignity. It does not mean dressing the way women did in the 1800’s. One can still dress in modern day fashion by donning classic styles.
Modesty is closely linked to self-respect because it is those who have self-respect who are also naturally modest. Self-respect, simply stated, is liking yourself. It is being aware of your own self-worth. A self-respecting person does not need to brag about his or her accomplishments, because s/he is already self-assured. People with self respect have the courage of accepting their mistakes. They exhibit a certain toughness, a kind of moral courage and they display character.
TEN WAYS TO RAISE SELF-RESPECTING, MODEST CHILDREN:
- Model self-respect and modesty by the way you dress, your language and your confidence in your abilities.
- Take full responsibility for the obligations in your life, especially raising your children.
- Participate fully in the loving care of your baby. This includes bathing, diapering, putting the child to bed, cuddling, holding and playing with your baby.
- Stay actively involved in your child’s life. Talk and listen to your child. This will show them how important they are to you and will build a healthy self-esteem.
- Teach your children about love by showing them lots of affection and playfulness.
- Discipline them in a firm but kind way.
- Be honest and forthright when praising your children.
- Teach your children, by your example, how to deal with failure or loss, while keeping their self-respect intact.
- Show your children, especially your daughters, how to dress in a modest way. This will invite boys to relate to them for their minds and hearts, not just their bodies.
- Remember your children are watching you all the time. Show them that it is better to displease people by doing what you know is right than temporarily please them by doing what you know is wrong.
If you incorporate these suggestions as you rear your children, you will raise self-respecting, modest children who become productive adults and exhibit courage, confidence and character. They will then go on to raise their own children with the same values, and our world will become a much better place.
I also highly recommend Wendy Shalit’s book: A Return to Modesty, Discovering the Lost Virtue, published by Touchstone Publishers, New York, NY, in 1999 .