Saturday, June 5, 2010

nakey

The word I hear about 20 times a day from my daughter is "nakey". Translation: "Please take my clothes off, Mom, so I can run around naked!"

Every child passes through a stage in which they take the no clothing option at every given chance. Annike comes by it honestly. My childhood naked stage lasted from age 1 to age 7, and I think Christian might still be going through his.


It strikes me that young children have no need for modesty, and I am so thankful for Annike's innocence. She is unaware that there might be anything to hide. She feels freedom in being "nakey" and has complete self-confidence in her body. But I am saddened to think that one day she may begin to feel some shame over her physical appearance, as most young women do. She will want to hide the parts of her body that are different than the women we see on t.v. or in magazines. And this will be a turning point in her innocence.


As near as I can tell, Annike's favorite Bible story is the Creation story. In every children's Bible book we have, she finds Adam and Eve and says "nakey" with a big grin on her face. Somehow she knows they aren't wearing any clothes even though the G-rated illustrations are such that Adam is holding a cat in front of his private parts, and Eve is standing behind a bush, or some other clever disguise. When I tell her the story, it sounds something like this: God created Adam and Eve nakey. They listened to lies the snake told them, and disobeyed God. Then they had to wear clothes. I guess you wouldn't want to wear clothes either if you were listening to my Bible stories.


There is a lot more to the story than this. But I am struck by the truth about the impact of the world on our children. They are born untouched by evil. Confident in their nakedness. Then messages of perfection, self-worth, value, physical beauty, talent,... (the list goes on), take root in their innocent hearts. Their eyes are opened, and they feel shame in their nakedness.

Some part of me wants to dread the day when Annike feels shame over her body. Make no mistake, I do want to protect her from adverse influences. But instead of focusing on her future heartaches, I want to celebrate this time of innocence in her life. She is a reminder to me that God created us confident in our nakey-ness. A reminder that we were made exactly the way we were supposed to be made, and that any shame in our lives is not a part of God's original plan for us.

"When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked;" Genesis 3:6-7

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