She was 14 years old, but she looked 18. She was well developed for her age and her outfit left nothing to the imagination. She wore extremely short shorts and a very tight and very low cut top displaying a sexuality that was inappropriate for a girl her age. I did not know if she was aware of the message she was sending by her attire but I was pretty sure that the message would be clearly heard by every teenage boy. Should I say something?
I wondered. Was it my place? Was there a way I could phrase a comment that would be well received?
It is typically a parent's place to instruct their children in appropriate dress but experience had taught me that fewer and fewer parents were stepping up to the plate in this regard. I thought of something a pastor friend had shared with a group of parents with teenage children, "Dads, you need to teach your daughters about modesty. Moms will sometimes not realize how revealing an outfit is. You know how boys think, so you need to tell your daughters when an outfit is too revealing."
Saying something would be risky, but wasn't it worth it?
I pondered my relationship with the parents. I had cared for the mom during her last pregnancy and delivered the baby. I had cared for the father after he had been severely injured. I knew them well and felt I had their trust. I decided to take a chance and address the issue.
At the completion of the visit, I turned to the patient and her mother. "I am going to say something to you that I think is important. I do not want to offend you but I think you need to know. The way you are dressed is very revealing, and I fear it may be sending a message to boys that you do not want to send." I hoped it was enough.
It turns out that to that family it was too much. It was the last time I ever saw the family. Looking back I ask myself if I would do it again.
I think I would, for I believe that part of love for people is saying the difficult thing, the painful thing and at times even the offensive thing. If we are to encourage one another and improve, if we are to grow and improve to be the people that God wants us to be, we will need people in our lives who will tell us what we need to hear instead of telling us what we want to hear.
Perhaps the writer of the Proverb had this in mind when he wrote- "Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But deceitful are the kisses of an enemy." Proverbs 27:6
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