Children and modesty


Our family (my wife, my son and me) went to India for a vacation and we took lodgings at friends’ house in a little town in Andhra Pradesh. They have two sons, 5 and 3 years old. Our son is 5.
Our friends told us that often at home their children wore only the traditional Indian waist-laces, but if we had some problem they would have told the children to wear the shorts. We thought that we shouldn’t enforce our custom, so we answered that it was OK.
Really we were a little worried because we didn’t know how our son would have behaved. However he had no problems at all. He had played for 10 minutes with his new mates when he asked permission to take off his clothing.
Perhaps our idea of modesty shouldn’t be too absolute.


I think there are three parts of the Catechism that bring up discussion on this subject:

The forms taken by modesty vary from one culture to another. Everywhere, however, modesty exists as an intuition of the spiritual dignity proper to man. It is born with the awakening consciousness of being a subject. Teaching modesty to children and adolescents means awakening in them respect for the human person.

Christian purity requires a purification of the social climate. It requires of the communications media that their presentations show concern for respect and restraint. Purity of heart brings freedom from widespread eroticism and avoids entertainment inclined to voyeurism and illusion.

So-called moral permissiveness rests on an erroneous conception of human freedom; the necessary precondition for the development of true freedom is to let oneself be educated in the moral law. Those in charge of education can reasonably be expected to give young people instruction respectful of the truth, the qualities of the heart, and the moral and spiritual dignity of man.


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