Culture

Summertime & Skin

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May 22nd, 2009

So as it’s getting summer-like here in IL, I’m starting to remember what tank tops and shorts look and feel like. The hoodies and sweaters are being packed up and we’re finally getting some time outside to bask in the vitamin D. Now, for those of you who live in warm places where you never have to get your hoodies and sweaters out, this may be a foreign concept for you…but it’s an annual ritual for the rest of us who experience more than one season a year. women_in_bathing_suits_north_africa_1944The thing this warm weather has gotten me thinking about is the struggle so many youth groups have with the summer wardrobe choices of some of the girls in their ministry. Whether it’s at a weekly youth group gathering or the weeklong summer camp (where you also have…brace yourselves…bathing suits!), chances are there are a few girls who are wearing things that make some adults blush and a lot of the teenage boys stare and perhaps even drool. So what’s a youth worker to do? I once heard Heather Flies talk about how she handles the issue of modesty and wardrobe with girls, especially in the summertime. (If you don’t know Heather, she’s a rockin middle school pastor in Minnesota.) She was talking about her rules, which sounded pretty hard-core to me, but seemed to work for her. Girls were not allowed to wear two-piece bathing suits, and their tank tops needed to have straps as wide as two of Heather’s fingers across the shoulder (meaning, no spaghetti straps). But the thing about Heather’s rules that I really appreciated was the way she explained the reason behind those rules. She tries to help teenage girls understand modesty and think about how their choices may affect the boys around them. While we all know at least one girl who is dressing a certain way ONLY because of how it affects the boys around them, it’s possible that a lot of these girls hadn’t thought about it very much. So, I don’t know if Heather’s “rules” are the best approach. But like I said, they seem to work for her ministry. I am curious to know how other people out there handle the issue. Is it even an issue in your group? If so, do you even address it? How?

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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in the YS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of YS.

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