Wednesday, May 25, 2011

She Wears Skirts- Swimming

No, this isn't a post about the easy transition your favorite everyday skirt can make from doing chores around the house to taking a plunge in the pool : ) And this isn't going to be a post lining out exactly what to wear while swimming. That comes tomorrow as I'm guest posting on a different blog, and I've given lots of links and ideas as to what you could wear! I'll be sure to post the link here and you all can read it tomorrow. But this deals more with the actual issue of "To swim or not to swim?"

I received an email yesterday that made me stop and think about this all over again. A mom wrote to me and expressed how she is starting to dress in skirts all the time, and while she bought some modest swimwear she is concerned about the pool parties because of what other people might be wearing. That is certainly a valid concern, and one worthy of our consideration.

We mothers are jealous (or should be) about guarding our children's hearts and keeping them pure. I don't know about you, but the thought of sending my son to a pool party where there are girls swimming in bikinis or skimpy one piece suits is no where near to my idea of keeping his heart pure. Likewise, sending my daughter somewhere that has a group of young men swimming with their shirts off is quite out of the question.

So what do we do about swimming? For our family, we have chosen not to go to public pools or water parks. It is a sacrifice, but one we feel is necessary. Likewise, if we were invited to a pool party, we would probably not attend. A family from our church has done "men and boys only" pool party for a birthday event, and I've attended a "girls only" swimming party before where everyone was dressed modestly. We know two families who own swimming pools, and so we have been able to go swimming there as a family on occasion.

What do you do if you live by the beach? That is a hard decision to make. My grandparents lived in Florida, and every summer during my teenage years I would be there for a few weeks visiting. What we ended up doing was going to the beaches that were not so popular. They were not very crowded, so we were able to swim without a lot of people around us.

It's almost impossible in states like Florida to avoid scantily clad people. That's why it is so important to not just try to avoid situations that will place you around bikinis and such, but you must train your children to look away. I don't believe in sheltering our children so much from the world that when they finally see a glimpse of it that they cave in and all is lost. Your young men especially will see immodest ladies - jogging, biking, swimming, (shopping even!) etc. and while you can avoid the worst of it at water parks and public pools, the most important part of your job is to talk openly with your children about why it is not modest to dress that way, and how to respond when they see it. We had many such talks with our mother about it. She taught my sister and I that it was wrong to see a man without his shirt on and to look away when we did see it.

This is not something to be fearful of, or become paranoid about. It's just another area we need to be watchful, prayerful, and on guard for our children - and ourselves if we are honest.

Don't forget to go visit Raising Arrows today for a great post on Makeup, Jewelry and Hair written by Amy and I!



At May 25, 2011 at 9:08 AM , Blogger Miss Linda said...

A wonderful post, Caroline. It is true, one cannot avoid immodestly dressed people, particularly in the warmer months. It is important to train yourself to look away since one cannot avoid immodesty in the world. There is a lovely biking/jogging trail close to my home, it meanders through a wooded park, along a brook for a way, and along beautiful green spaces planted with flowering trees. I used to love walking along that path. Unfortunately, the bikers and joggers who use that path are practically naked (the small amount of clothing they did wear fit very tightly). I eventually realized that I had to stop using that path for my daily walks. I bought a treadmill instead since I think it is important to exercise. It was a sacrifice, but I was very uncomfortable placing myself in that environment.

Thank you for this wonderful post and for so vigilantly guarding the children in your care! Have a nice week!

At May 25, 2011 at 9:41 AM , Blogger Martha A. said...

We live in a state where there are numerous lakes and rivers. I grew up not knowing how to swim, I could maybe save myself in an emergency, but not someone else. This made it so important for my children to learn how to swim, just to be safe, so I do not have to hyper vigilent about water all the time. It was not safe, us not learning how to swim. I know many girls who swam in their skirts so they would know how later, but I found it to be very immodest. The skirts float up in the water, leaving your legs exposed and everything exposed when you climb out. I tend to avoid water as I still dislike it, but am very thankful for the swim lessons for my boys! Here it is very easy to find quiet, alone places to swim as there is alot of water around too!!!

At May 25, 2011 at 10:11 AM , Blogger Sheree said...

This is so very true. I have 4 boys and we have noticed that you can barely go out of your home without seeing immodestly dressed grls and women. Having 2 almost grown sons and 2 sons 10 & 9, I have noticed that the little girls are often dressed just like the teenaged girls and have had to train my younger sons to look away from the little girls as well. Its very sad the way the world sexualizes children.

At May 25, 2011 at 10:22 AM , Anonymous Tyra said...

This sounds almost exactly like how we do! It's nice to know there are others who think it isn't only important to be modest with swimwear yourself, but also to protect your family from others who don't make those same choices. We love swimming and love the beach, but just have to make a little extra effort to not put ourselves in places where it's impossible to avoid immodesty. It has been challenging the last couple of times we've visited Fl though and the kids have been asking to go back but my husband and I are a little reluctant after our former experiences. Any suggestions on beaches that might be a little more private?
Love your blog by the way. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this subject!


At May 25, 2011 at 10:35 AM , Blogger Sarah : ) said...

Thanks for this post! We went on a family vacation a couple of years ago to the beach. We chose a "family" beach and went in October. Sometimes we were the only people we could see close enough to even discern what one was wearing.
I do have a question though. My daughter is three and doesn't know how to swim. We do not have a pool and the few people we know who do, we're not comfortable enough with to be over there a lot. We would like for her to learn to swim for her own safety as she LOVES the water so much, but the only option where we live is to take her to the small city pool and enroll her in lessons with a mixed gender class. They employ local teens who work as life guards to teach the kids. I'm not only concerned about what other kids will be wearing, but what their parents will be wearing, and what the instructors will be wearing. Since it's open to the public, there will be no guidelines, but I don't know what else to do to teach her to swim. I would love to hear your advice. Thank you again, and God bless :)

At May 25, 2011 at 1:32 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great ideas!

In our home avoiding the pool, beach and water parks will appear too extreme of a decision for my husband. He loves to take us swimming.

I was thinking of only going when husband wants to, and then finding bathing suit material for making coordinating, knee length wrap "skorts" over one piece bathing suits.

At May 25, 2011 at 2:21 PM , Blogger ~Heather said...

This is a wonderful post! Thank you so much for writing it! I have actually not gone to the womens retreats for my church because they were hosted at public rec centers and swimming was on the agenda. It is so hard to find an affordable modest swimming suit, and the last thing I want to do is pay for one just to go to the pool and be surrounded by immodesty. We only swim in the pool in our backyard or at the lake (where it is rare to not be the only family there).

At May 25, 2011 at 2:40 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

We take swim class with a homeschool group at a local Civic Center. The teachers are wonderful Christian ladies, they wear a standard bathing suit but most of the time wear shorts over it. My youngest daughter is learning to swim beautifully and is oblivious to any mixed classes or swim suits or anything like that. I have older girls and we teach them to be modest and pure. I wear a swim dress that I was fortunate to find at Sears, it has a full knee length skirt, very nice and pretty modest as swim suits go. My girls wear swim shorts and tops and look just fine as well. I think the bigger deal you make of the world's looks, immodesty, lack of purity, etc., the more the children are going to focus and see it and gawk and gaze. My children often point out (privately, not in a loud, pointing fashion...well, my 4 year old can get loud) that this one or the other is not dressed "appropriately" or that they are embarrassed for someone else. It is instilled at our home how to dress and act and so we deal with it and go forward. Swim suit season and swimming season is a fairly short time, unless you live on a beach or in a tropical area. We have our own pool so that helps a lot but we are planning a vacation to FL this year, to visit, among other things, the beach. As homeschoolers, we go on the off season, this year we are able to go in Sept. but we have went in Oct. or April as well. I don't believe we should revel in the world's ways or fashions but we can certainly be a testimony to clean, modest living when we are out. Believe me, you will be noticed as being different! My children never focus on anyone or anything at the beach except the water, gathering shells, watching for crabs and other sea life, we picnic and have a great time and have never felt dirtied up or hindered or so uncomfortable as to not be able to enjoy God's creation. He gave the ocean, lakes, rivers, walking trails, parks, etc. to us, His beloveds, to enjoy and for our use. I revel in His beauty and the wonderful opportunity to be with my family. We make memories that we cherish and talk about through the cold winter.


At May 25, 2011 at 4:41 PM , Blogger Erika Shupe said...

Thank you - it's nice to know there are others out there with like-mindedness about not going to public swimming areas pretty much. Blessings to you!

At May 26, 2011 at 6:29 AM , Blogger Jo said...

Our children can't avoid seeing people who dress in modestly - just walk into any shopping centre in summer in Australia. We cant keep them at home and isolated for ever. Sadly this is just a fact that we need to address. When my sons were younger, they are now grown up, we went out, but like one of the other ladies, they knew what was appropriate dress and what wasn't and would whisper to me.

We didn't swim much as Im not much of a swimmer, but my youngest, now 18 occassionally goes swimming with his friends.

At May 26, 2011 at 9:03 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just found your blog today in a Google search about teaching your sons to respect women, although I follow Raising Arrows so I guess I would have found you today anyway. Great post. Something I'm starting to think about more and more. Thanks for your blog. I look forward to reading more. ~Jessica

At May 31, 2011 at 1:03 PM , Blogger Martha A. said...

Something interesting too......we have cold summers too sometimes and most of the teachers and students wore long sleeve rash guards over their suits.....In the water, you cannot see much and no one wants to spend much time out of the water.

At June 6, 2011 at 9:10 PM , Blogger Erin said...

I guess it is a matter of perspective- I was a competitive swimmer for 11 years and was raised in a non- Chirstian home. It never occured to me that bathing suits showed anything other than the fact that we ( the team) were athletes.

At June 8, 2011 at 10:35 AM , Blogger va_grown said...

This is on my mind a lot lately since it's summertime and around here it's HOT. I struggle because it's not just how we act/wear, but also what we expose ourselves to in the behavior and dress of others--but not everyone sees that.

I don't want my husband and sons around half (or more!) naked women all day long--but even shorts these days are practically nothing more than underwear. I know they're supposed to control their own minds and not look...but how can they not look? And women (and girls!) know know they are dressing to get attention and know it's hard for men not to look, and STILL blame the men for looking--the whole situation just turns my stomach and makes me want to avoid a lot of public places this time of year. So I just console myself that it's my job to protect my sons' hearts the best I can while they're still under my care and try to find like-minded friends to fellowship with most of the time.

At June 22, 2011 at 6:02 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said... This site has very modest swimsuits...I ordered one for my daughter last summer and the quality is excellent!

At September 4, 2011 at 2:01 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I have become more aware of the need of modesty as the mother of two boys, ages 9 and 13, I began wearing dresses and bought a very modest swimsuit for myself just recently. It's more like a jumper and very comfortable. However, when I bought it, our goal was to go to a water park right at the beginning of summer. I didn't even think until we were there with all the scantily dressed people that my boys would have quite a time averting their eyes, as well as my husband! We have learned that this water park is open in November and just before Thanksgiving, they have very few patrons. But still.... ~ Alana


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