Friday, May 7, 2010

Ponderings for Summer

Spring is here in full force, with summer coming quickly behind it. For Snapper, this means that the bubble (dome) has been taken off the pool, and she swims outside during swim team practice. It also means the team doesn't have the pool to itself. All members of this club have access to the pool in the afternoons now, and it is always full of kids. The team has lanes of its own, so their practice isn't affected by the recreational swimmers. However, watching all the little kids swarming the pool has raised a few concerns. Let's just say that I really understand now why my mom was such a stickler about choosing modest bathing suits. Though I didn't appreciate her determination at the time, I am so thankful now that she didn't let me wear the bikinis I wanted to wear. 

The following is my opinion, the standards we have chosen for our daughter. If your choice differs from mine, let me start by saying I in no way judge you and the choices you make. Every parent is free to decide what is best for their own children. If our opinions are very different, though, I would challenge you to read this with an open heart.

Matt and I have made the decision that we will not allow Snapper to wear 2-piece bathing suits. We will also not allow any 1-piece suits that have the sides cut out, have low-cut fronts, or any sort of mesh material on them. When she tries on a suit, it needs to fit comfortably--not baggy at all, and securely fitting in the armpits and behind. At first she complained that there were no cute bathing suits that met our standards. She also didn't understand why we had the standards in the first place.

Here is what we told her.
1. A bathing suit is meant to allow her to be comfortable in the water.
2. There are parts of her body that are private, and should be kept covered.
3. There are other parts of her body that while not necessarily private, draw unnecessary attention when they are uncovered.
4. She is a little girl. We want other people to see her as a little girl, not as a miniature adult.
5. When she is a pre-teen and in her teenage years, we will discuss with her how men and boys think, and of how we want them to be more focused on her as a person than on her body.

Snapper seemed to get it, and even helped me by telling me how the suits felt on her as she was trying them on. In the end, we were able to find a very sweet bathing suit. It is a rainbow print that she loves, covers her nicely, is age-appropriate, and fits her to perfection.

Each day at the pool, I am concerned at the message parents are unconsciously sending to their little girls when they allow them to wear suits like this. And yes, this is a children's suit. It is available in sizes 4-16 from a store I will leave undisclosed.

In and of itself, this suit seems cute. But when it is on the body of a 9-year-old, what kind of message does it send? Really, sweet mamas and dads, do you want your little girl radiating sexy? There are so many sick people in the world who would get a thrill out of seeing a little girl in a suit like this. Yes, I'm being very frank. But the truth is that there are all sorts of twisted minds out there, often closer to home than you know.

See how cute this suit is, without sending a sexy vibe. This one would have come home with us, but the leg openings were too loose on my skinny girl.

We have chosen to draw the line now, when our girl is still unconditionally trusting of us. Lord-willing, it will make the transition to the teen years easier, because our standard has been the same from the beginning. It is one thing to see a little one running around in a bikini, but picture your 15-year-old in this, and tell me the boys in her life are not going to struggle in their thoughts about her.

Wouldn't something like this be more helpful in presenting your daughter as a young lady of high standards?

Again, my purpose here is not to be judgmental--every parent needs to do what is best for their children. Just want to challenge you to think twice as you do your swimwear shopping for this summer.


ErinL said...

Amen :)

Nikki said...

Good writing Em. I have been thinking about this a lot lately. Justin and I have struggled with this. Our LONG WAISTED & extremely thin girl has a really hard time finding suits that fit. To be honest, several two pieces (think takini) have been more modest than some one piece suits (her size and waist require a size 5 yr when she is 8 so it means one piece suits go way too high up the leg and way to low in the chest or they are WAY too loose). I was always against two piece suits, but have had to find modest ones. Its really been a struggle for me trying to find modest suits that fit. I have been dreading swim suit shopping this summer! Last year we checked Kohls, Target, Sam's, Old Navy, Gap, ETC! I like your standards!

Tammy Warta said...

I'm a huge fan of the two piece tankinis with the boy shorts - they are super cute and modest.

And this post made me thank God that I have a boy - and hopefully always will have boys cause I can't handle this stress! ;)

Love you!

Judy said...

I like your standards too! Like you said, there are too many people out there with unclean thoughts. It amazes me the things you see on the beach/at the pool...then again, it doesn't.

Kristin said...

I completely agree. Our oldest is almost 12 now, and we've never allowed our girls to wear two piece suits or immodest ones, for the very same reasons you stated. They stil occasionally give me grief about it, but I beieve that they understand and in their hearts they agree with us. I don't favor two pieces for adults, either - but that's a whole other subject!

Stef said...

I love your swim suit "guidelines"!
Jason and I have the same rule. We've told Rachel that we wear bathing suits to swim in the water and not be drug down by heavy clothes, but our goal is still to be modest and not trying to be as naked as possible. Rachel, being only 3 1/2 hasn't faced any issues with wanting a two piece, but she did see some cute princess ones at the store the other day and said "why are these cut in half?!" :)
When we swim anywhere around people that we don't know, our girls wear little skirt bottoms as well. I like her crotch area to be covered when we're around men/boys that we don't know personally. Rachel isn't chubby and already has a very cute, curvy little body, so we've had to already be careful about these things.

Anyway, fun post!

Lori said...

I totally agree! I've been looking for suits for the girls for a while and have also noticed lots of skimpy 2-pieces. (The funny thing is that when N was little she had a 2-piece that was ok then but now I'd veto in a heartbeat!)

I'm in the market for tankinis for the girls because it makes using public bathrooms at the splash pads SO much easier. Luckily I've seen some that are very modest and don't show off anything. Since we're still potty training A I know we'll be spending lots of quality time in park bathrooms this summer... ugh. :) I pray that teaching them about modesty early will have a lasting impression on them. Have a great Mother's Day!

RachelRuelas said...

I fully agree!!!! Not only do you not want peering eyes, but lets protect our little boys and men from leering eyes... men are sinners just like us, and they were created to appreciate beauty differently then we are. Lets help our men lead mature Godly lives! I am also SO thankful my mom never let us wear two piece swim suits.