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Swimsuit Edition

The boys and I went to a bookstore yesterday, and as we strolled past the magazines, both of them were struck and immediately captivated by the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.

Right out there, she sure was.

They were most interested in this cover photo at their eye level. Certainly, they know intrisically that there is something very intrigueing and very off limits about this bikini on display.

They pointed and touched the picture, giggling to each other.

How to teach this lesson without shaming them for a natural response?

“Guys, look at me, please.”

They each turned to me, trying to keep the bikini in their peripheral vision.

“Look at me, please.”

I knelt to them. This conversation will require eye contact.

“She’s pretty, isn’t she, guys?”

They nod. They giggle. One raises his eyebrows.

“I know. I think she is too. God made her to look that way. He made girls different from boys, and he did that on purpose. It’s okay that she’s beautiful, guys.”

I give them a minute to absorb this truth.

And then I add this:

“Someday, you’ll choose a wife, and you’ll marry her. She will be beautiful, and she will be all yours to look at and enjoy.”

I give them another minute to absorb this truth.

“But until then, no pointing, no touching, no laughing. You are gentlemen, and you will show respect. Deal?”

Deal. Let’s go look at the Mr. Men books.

(I am not naive to think that conversation is over. But I am prayerful that seeds take root in tender hearts.)

Dear Sports Illustrated,

Thank you for the opportunity to teach them to honor, cherish, and respect. If you didn’t try to capture their minds, I might have missed the chance to teach them that beauty is good, okay, and worth their respect.

Tricia Lott Williford

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  1. Brava, and ditto the comments. Way to pull out the perfect answer on the spot!

  2. That was pure gold. When you’re having one of those tough parenting days that we all have, in which you’re questioning if you’re handling it right, I hope you remember that you’ve given them moments like these. That was just awesome, Tricia.

  3. You might also remind the owner of the bookstore that having porn at a child’s eye level is against the law.

  4. Such a smart and loving mommy – lucky boys……

  5. You are wise beyond your years

  6. I *Just* heard a talk on this yesterday at church– about how to talk to your Kid’s about sex, and why we need to start sooner than you’d think (Thank You Sports Illustrated and our culture in general). Here’s a link to a series of books recommended: This is the first in a series designed to do in age-appropriate steps.

    Your answer was right on the money. May you continue to take advantage of the teachable moments!

  7. Wow! I LOVE your response! Thanks for sharing…and I will tuck your wisdom into the back of my mind for when I’m faced with such a situation. I’m sure the day is coming with these two precious boys napping in their rooms…only 2 and 4 right now…but its coming! 🙂

  8. What a great conversation! I think it would be very rough raising boys where it seems at every turn there is something skimpy on display.

  9. I love your response to your boys! You did a great job taking advantage of a teachable moment.

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