Tuesday, October 12, 2010

People as Objects

Okay.  I'm not quite sure how to write about this.
But, I'm gonna try.
The objectification of people is a problem on so many levels.

I think I'll come at it as a mom right now.
But, any person could be having these thoughts, I would think.
Male or female.  Parent or non parent.

There are so many ugly things that we are bombarded with in our culture.
(Media mocking celebrity bodies, plastic surgery addictions, 
"shacking up" to give the relationship a test run, pornography & 
widely posted publications & ads that come pretty close to porn...)
The question is how to counter them rightly.

How do you teach your children to dress modestly?
How do you teach them to have a healthy (but not haughty)
confidence in the way God made their bodies?
How do you teach them not to gawk at all the magazines in the grocery store aisle?
How do you teach them the importance of saving their sexuality for marriage?

I am not going to give them a list of specific rules for their wardrobe.
I am not going to quickly turn around every magazine cover at the checkout.
I am not going to pretend like there is no such thing as sex.
I am not going to keep everyone in the house all day, with the curtains drawn.

The physical body is not bad.
Our sexuality is not bad.
God made both very good.
(Although they have both been marred by our sin.)

There is nothing wrong with seeing that people are beautiful.
God made them that way.
It is wrong to objectify that person
& disrespect that person.
They are made in God's image.

We can't separate our physical body from the rest of ourselves,
and think it is okay to treat our sexuality casually,
like it is just an object.
As people, all our parts are intertwined.
The physical matters.

It is wrong to use other people,
and it is wrong to let them use you.

Before we teach our kids anything, we need to know what we believe
& know how to speak & model it to them.

Here are ways that I try to practice respect.

  • I shouldn't flaunt or reveal myself to others, disrespecting myself & my husband & God in whose image I am created.  God tells me to be humble.
  • In seeing that another person is beautiful, I should be glad for them, rather than feel envy of comparison or lusting for something that is not mine.
  • If I see someone choosing to make themselves an object for other people to use, I should hope for them to understand their own worth, rather than just figure "they'll just get what they deserve".
  • I will not assume that because "men are visual" they are all lustful animals.  I will understand that a man can appreciate beauty & be honoring at the same time.
  • I will be grateful for the way God made me, whether or not certain features of mine are currently "in vogue" in our culture.
  • I will accept natural aging & not wish that surgeons could "repair" my body as it changes.

How about you?  How do you teach your kids purity & respect?
How do you try to counter the 
cultural bombardment of treating people as objects?

8 comments:

Mrs. Schwager said...

amen to that.

Nicola S. said...

Erin, I think one of the biggest things I'm having to learn about this is to train myself to be content with how God has made me, so that my girls will learn to be content with how God has made them. Also if they see me dressing in a way that glorifies God and brings Him honor as well as honor to my husband then I think without having to address it all the time the girls will just see by example.

Stef said...

"I will not assume that because "men are visual" they are all lustful animals. I will understand that a man can appreciate beauty & be honoring at the same time."

I love how you said that.
I also really appreciated what Nicola said.

Jason and I have been praying over these things a lot recently - feeling the weight of our responsibility to train up our kids and not overly shelter or scare them.
I think Jason feels like a good start is to communicate with them. Tell them the truth, when they ask a question. If we're not open and honest with our kids, letting them know they can come to us about anything, they'll go somewhere else to get truth or "wisdom".

Jason often reminds me that as we walk with our kids through God's Word, they will have all the resources they need to learn how to walk humbly and wisely in a twisted and perverse world. I don't need a million special tips or tricks - God will instruct and give wisdom as we pray and seek for it.
One thing we're working on now, even though they're young, is genuine love for others. Even people who look very different from us and people who don't see eye to eye with us on many things.
The MOMS club I'm in is not a Christian or Home schooling club, so our family has very different values and beliefs than most other families. And yet its been a way for me to show my kids that we love all people, no matter how different they look from us. And, that God's free Gospel isn't saved for the righteous, but for the lost.

Loved this post!

Brittany Martin said...

Great post, Erin!

With our boys, we want them to be self-controlled and disciplined now, so that 10 years from now they know how to control themselves with sexual issues. When they see the woman on the magazine covers I want them to see it as Proverbs does--following her leads to poverty, stupidity, and death.

Erin said...

Brittany, that's right on!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for starting this conversation, Erin!

We approach the topic in much the same way. We discuss sex openly (age-appropriately). We talk about the parts of the body and their purposes. We talk about true beauty that comes from within. I also strive to dress with good taste.

Recently, I was reading "The Little Mermaid" to my girls. My 4-year-old interrupted to say, "She should be wearing more clothes!" Out of the mouth of babes... ;)

stephanie@metropolitanmama.net

Brittany Martin said...

Great post, Erin!

With our boys, we want them to be self-controlled and disciplined now, so that 10 years from now they know how to control themselves with sexual issues. When they see the woman on the magazine covers I want them to see it as Proverbs does--following her leads to poverty, stupidity, and death.

Mrs. Schwager said...

amen to that.