It’s amazing how those songs I sang in Sunday School have stuck with me through the years. I’m sure they’re designed to do that. It never fails that I’ll be going about my business and all of the sudden a Psalty song will pop into my head and I’m humming along. They’re gems of wisdom, those songs.
I’ve always loved that old song that goes, “O be careful little eyes what you see. O be careful little eyes what you see. There’s a Father up above, and He’s looking down in love. So, be careful little eyes what you see.” It goes on to remind us to pay attention to what we look at, what we’re doing, what we’re saying, because we’re striving to live to a standard that would please God. Not a bad goal.
Now I’m about to go someplace that’s probably not going to be that popular. In fact, I considered a post to facebook about it, but decided that wouldn’t leave enough room for explanation. The last thing I want to do is come across as a Christian know-it-all or a finger pointer, but something is on my heart and it’s there for a reason. I have avoided writing for about a week. I have really pushed back against saying anything for fear that it’s just going to cause a problem. However, experience has taught me that if I just can’t shake a feeling, it’s not to be ignored.
Summer is upon us and it’s time to hit the pools and beaches. It’s time to expect to see swimsuits and photos of people in swimsuits. I get that. But there’s an over-abundance of swimsuits in my facebook and Instagram feed. I mean A LOT. And I have to ask myself, is this a good thing? We set our privacy settings and we teach our teens to do the same. We do our level best to protect our family and friends from prying eyes. But it’s not strangers that’s my concern, really.
Some of you can rock a swimsuit – especially all those young and beautiful people. In fact, some of you are just stop-the-presses gorgeous! I think your swimsuits are super cute and I’m glad you’re having a blast at the water’s edge. Really!
But, do I need to see it? Do our husbands and sons and brothers need to see you and your daughters? Do we ladies and our daughters need to see guys in low-riding swim trunks?
We spend a lot of time talking to our boys about how to view your daughters, but we’re showing them pictures that take them to other places. Oh, they’d never admit that girls in bikinis flashing duck lips and peace signs cause them to think of those girls any differently than girls in jeans and t-shirts flashing duck lips and peace signs, but let’s get real, shall we? And I’ve seen those girls posting #mcm photos of “hot” guys without shirts and in low swim trunks. Thoughts aren’t easy to control.
I’m not one of those people who believe in 1920s swim dresses or one of these hot get-ups. I don’t see a single thing wrong with a cute (full coverage) two-piece. My daughter and I both wear them. I don’t think we need to swim in jeans or wrap up in towels.
I just pose a couple thoughts for your thoughts.
Imagine your/your teen’s photo being seen by your co-workers and high school friends and far-off-long-since-forgotten random people you friended along the way on facebook or random followers on Instagram. When you or they post those photos all of your “friends” are seeing them. Would you, in real life, parade your daughter in a bikini in front of the dude you friended at your high school reunion? Let’s face it, girls are showing more in these photos, but we’ve all got people in our friends list that aren’t people we’d show bikini shots of our girls and shirtless pics of our boys to!
Maybe the point is that it seems to me like we’re asking our husbands, ourselves, our teens to stay morally pure while we’re putting our bodies in front of the world for viewing. Why are we taking the photos? Is it to share a fun time or to get approval? Is it to remember the fun at the pool or to get complimented? If it really is the fun, perhaps share the photos in the cover-ups and the shorts. Is the story that you’re sharing any different? We get it that you were swimming and beaching and having fun and we’re just as happy for you. Promise.
Maybe I’m a prude, but I worry that we’re not reminding ourselves to present ourselves to a big world, modestly. We’ve all heard the Bible verses about modesty. You know they are there. I don’t need to include them to make my point more solid.
I think my point stands alone – we’re in charge of the messages we send.
When we choose to step aside and put on a cover-up before snapping and sharing that photo, we’re making a statement. We’re sharing the moment, not our body, with people who will see it. We girls could show a little mercy on those guys and keep our bodies to ourselves, especially outside the moment, online. And the guys could pull up the swim trunks (we don’t need to see your pelvic bone, guys) and throw on a tank top or t-shirt.
Perhaps we’re all just caught up in the live-it-all-in-public world we live in. Perhaps we need to take an honest and non-defensive look at what we’re sharing on social media…and what we’re allowing our kids to share. If my boys are at a pool party with girls and snap a photo, we won’t be sharing them online. A memory doesn’t need published online to make it legit. Maybe they’d all be better off enjoying the pool instead of posing for photos anyway.
Maybe it’s weird. Maybe I’m over-sensitive. But I think it’s time to be a little weird. It’s time to set ourselves apart as a little different.