I am on Day One of doctor's ordered bed rest while I battle through this latest allergic reaction, so what better way to spend my days than reading a good book?!
The one I am reading right now is excellent and I would love it if every parent of pre-teens and teenagers would read it and share its insights with the children of the household.
The book is "A Return to Modesty" by Wendy Shalit. (Touchstone/Simon and Schuster Inc., 1999.) In it, Ms. Shalit makes a strong case as to why a woman's modesty, sense of embarrassment, when it comes to sexual ideas and behaviour is something to be investigated and embraced as a natural personal protection in early life, not rejected, mocked and vilified as something unnatural and wierd and wrong. While it was published 15 years ago, the ideas are timeless and very much needed in our day and age.
This is not a religious book. This is not a condemning book. It is simply a treatise on how we expose our children to sexual concepts and behaviours at early ages, long before they are ready to be understood and treated respectfully. We expose them to sex years before they are prepared to understand life long consequences of sexual behaviour, dehumanize human beings, allow for no individuality in ideas about sexual relationships, then wonder why incidents of rape and sexual torture and assaults are growing. There are no cautions in place any more to protect women or to teach men how to respect women and women to respect men. People who say "NO!" to sexual encounters in our society are treated badly, told they have hangups and their parents are blamed for bringing them up in "patriarchal" homes. Nowadays protecting daughters and sons from sexual encounters too early in life is considered ridiculous and repressive.
So, Ms. Shalit gives us a realistic diagnosis of our society's origin of social sexual problems and some excellent ideas as to how to start to restore modesty to our society and why that is a good thing rather than a repressive regression.
It is good reading for all parents. It might help them understand their own ongoing social problems based on how they were told about and practised sex, as well as help them protect their children from experiencing the same ones. If your school system starts sex education in kindergarten to grade 4, this book is a must read.