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.

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