Sunday, July 13

Bare Essentials

Well, I'm just going to write it. And publish it for the world to see. And to those of you who can impart some wisdom- please do.

Zach and I were discussing our girls vs. the world- specifically it's disillusions about sex. Why do doctors and artists have the corner on an apathetic view of the naked body? And what is it that they have to un-learn when they embark in the field?

I got out of the shower unaware that Mia was on the other side of the door. It's been awhile since I was nursing, let alone completely naked in front of the kid, and so of course she thought this was an interesting show. My knee-jerk reaction was to rudely call her on it. She turned away obviously embarrassed or ashamed- or a little of both. The enormity of how wrong I had reacted to such an innocent situation got me thinking. It brings tears to my eyes just recalling it, actually.

We know the body isn't evil. It's a gift! We came here naked- and I don't mean the birth of every human. I'm talking Adam and Eve- the ones that got sent here naked with no idea that they should be wearing clothes around each other. It was perfectly fine with Heavenly Father as long as they were innocent.

From President Benson's point of view, it would seem that the destroyer's greatest goal is to infuse every good with pride. Of course Satan started with our very bodies. What was the only thing certain to affect every human being for better or for worse? The way we view our bodies, and what we think of the act that creates new bodies.

This is by no means an attempt at being impertinent, but how many religions actively send the message that sex, even within the bonds of marriage, is a carnal act- which only purpose is reproduction? To be truly holy, they believe you must be abstinent. And to top it all off, you must emulate a being which is defined for you as "undefineable." Denying the spiritual nature of sexual relations and rejecting the physical (yet perfected) nature of our Maker. What are people going to do with that? Unfortunately, we've all seen it first-hand. It opens the door wide to a "pick and choose your doctrine" mentality. Which opens the door wider to a cavalier attitude toward... well... everything.

Our perception of intimacy affects our our interactions as we search for our companions, whether or not we're looking for an eternal companionship. And once married, not the act itself- but the way we perceive it, impacts every facet of our lives. Our relationship with our spouse, however long it lasts, changes the way our children view themselves and interact with the world. And we all grow up to either add credence to, or chip away at, the distorted view that has been so prevalently, imperceptibly poisoning the minds of God's children.

How disturbing to realize the extent the media had a hold on my mind growing up. And I'm sure for many of us, the view won't be completely free of distortion until after this life. Myths are acting as black-out curtains in a society that has been squinting so long in the dark, we actually believe we're enlightened.

I've decided to be as open and honest as I can with my girls about our bodies and how our Heavenly Father wants us to use them. I don't want them to grow up ashamed, not even embarrassed, of the most beautiful gifts He has given them. I won't have it. Not in the name of propriety, discretion, whatever. I believe that a person who grows up looking at their body the way God does will cover it because they revere and respect it's sacredness- not because they fear that others might see it.

So our new address is now: The Columbus Ohio Nudist Colony, Columbus Ohio. Okay, not really. But it does make you realize the extremes some of us are driven to trying to make sense of it all. The lesson I taught in Relief Society today was entitled "Proclaim Glad Tidings to All the World." This singular knowledge is one of the greatest gifts we have to give people who don't know about the true nature of God. About the true plan He has for us to become like Him. How clear the picture becomes with just these view simple precepts. I can imagine this knowledge being very gladly received. What a relief, to know that one of the greatest joys a husband and wife can share with each other has absolutely nothing to do with the selfishness of those still in the dark.


Magirk said...

This really resonated with me, and I've wanted to make an intelligent comment on it, but even pondering it for nearly 5 days hasn't helped me out any. So feel free to delete this if it comes out all goofy-like.

My childhood was a little, uh, tumultuous. And I've had a few experiences that have made me fairly inhibited about my body. Although, for much of my teenage and pre-marriage life, I was given much attention for how 'cute' I was. So it's always been a bit of a paradox, this human body thing, for me.

It didn't really help that me and my mom didn't communicate much on important issues like this. I've mostly been left to my own devices about it all, which isn't necessarily a good thing!

I want so much to teach my daughters better, to inspire not just respect and reverence, but also to have confidence in and be accepting of this human body they've been given. Sometimes I feel like I'm fighting the uphill battle, though, since everything I learned was pretty much the opposite of that lesson.

Unless I need a quiet moment by myself, I pretty much leave the door open when I'm in the bathroom. Hubby is more guarded, since Princess is almost 5. I still have baths with Princess maybe once a week, and I always answer her questions with the anatomically-correct words, and try to make it not sounds scary or as though she should be apprehensive about her body, but not divulging too much info.

I just don't want my girls to be as ashamed and uncomfortable about their bodies as I've been.

Brilliant post. Great job!

Cherry Tree said...

I determined early on in motherhood that I was *not* going to be banished to the bedroom every time I nursed and that got me started on my quest for openness. I think I have done a pretty good job in teaching the kids the right words and not saying things like "I feel fat". I may have done too good of a job though because E thinks she is much prettier than her Barbies!

One night H saw two horses doing their thing and asked some questions about it. So I told him the facts about Tab A and Slot B. He turned around and said, "Mom, stop joking around, that is truly disgusting!" I felt bad for the guy, but it is what it is. Sorry.

I have taught the kids that even if they don't need to yet, they should always wear modest clothes. Seems to work so far. My kids are very modest and don't like to show off their nudity, but not because they are embarrassed by it.

Who knows though, maybe someday they will come back and tell me how much I screwed them up. What can I say?

Hot Air said...

Whew. I was close to deleting this. I thought I'd offended everybody when the Disney Princesses got so many comments and this one sat empty for a week! Ha!

Good to know I'm not alone. I think that's why I write half the stuff I do. Just to test the waters in "normal people world."

The Garber Family said...

Oh, and adding a boy to the mix makes things even more sensitive. From the moment we had him circumsized, I knew I was unprepared to talk about those things easily with him. I guess that's what's good about having a mom and a dad...

Tulsi said...

Our kids talk to us about EVERYTHING. I'm not sure how we do it. But I am so glad it is there. We do speak about being modest with our bodies because it is such a sacred gift. Our son is currently at Army Basic Training, where he sees and hears things that were not taught at home. And he is grateful that he grew up as he did. He really didn't notice that modesty and appreciation for ones self makes such a difference until a boy from one of the souther states thanked the girls at EFY for the way they dressed. Something Kass took for granted. He thanked them for having the courage to do so because he saw the reverse in his town. Kass knows the girls he chooses to date are going to be someone's mother some day. He is proud of the choices that I made in a family different from a family he is raised in. We understand repentance and things happen. But if you are taught, you will think first. Our oldest daughter was determined to be a real SWEET 16 in a town that thought she was the dumbest girl there. She knew even a kiss was special. But then they were envious when she accomplished it. Our youngest is always telling us what girls her age are doing (14) and feels so sad for them. And she is noticing that boys notice and are thankful for girls who respect themselves and know who they are. We talk about whatever they want to. But I knew then that they are comfortable with whatever subject is on their mind. Nothing is excluded or shameful. My self and my husband included in all of these talks. No one asked to leave the room. I appreciated your blog entry.