For Christmas, “Santa” brought our family an ipad. All four of us share it. Truth be known, the girls probably play it more than we get to, but we all enjoy it. Last weekend they were wanting new apps on “their page”. One app they love to play on their daddy’s new phone is a hair and makeup one. So I go in search of girlie, free apps. I found a dress up one that seemed cute so I downloaded it.
After about an hour of them playing, I started to notice that some of the girls only had what looked like bikini tops, but the caption would be “mall shopping” or such. So I started quizzing my almost 6 year old. “Why does that girl not have a shirt on?” She replied, “She does.” “No,” I said, “that is not a shirt.” She began to explain that since it was the free app, sometimes the shirts were “locked” if you wanted to do a skirt. They also had some dresses to do. But then I got to noticing the ones that did have shirts, a lot of them were “belly” shirts.
So again I start talking to my oldest daughter. We don’t wear clothes like that I tell her. She informs me that she knows that, its not nice to show your belly, but this was just on the ipad. So I try and explain to her, yes, but she was the one choosing the clothes and those were not appropriate clothes. Again, she said, “Mom, this is just pretend. I am just playing with the app. I wouldn’t wear stuff like that.” My response, “Pick a different shirt.”
Later, I tried to address it again, in a non threatening way. I asked her if she knew why we didn’t wear clothes like that, and her response was, “It’s not nice.” Yes that is one reason. I also explain to her how God made us, and He made us beautiful but we wanted people to think we were beautiful because of our love for Him and for whats on the inside, for our heart. And when people looked at us, we wanted them to look at our face, not at what our clothes didn’t seem to cover up.
She seemed to understand ok, but she still kept saying how that was a pretend app and it wasn’t real.
So why was it so important to me and her father to make her choose “appropriate” clothes for an ipad app? For me, I didn’t want it to become fun for her to put on clothes that we would not see as appropriate in real life. I also wanted her to see how cute and pretty the pretend girls were, in clothes that didn’t show their bellies and such.
But all day, she would bring me the ipad and ask, “Is this good?”, “Do you like this one?” and etc. She started to make it a game, of picking the clothes she thought we would like the best. And we praised her when her “girl” was appropriately dressed. And I have warned her that the app would be deleted if she dressed them inappropriate. I have peeked over her shoulder when she didn’t know I was around, looked back at the pics she had saved, and she seems to be getting the message.
It may have been just pretend to her, but how many times does our pretend stuff, the stuff we think no one knows or sees, really glorify God? I guess the lesson for me was “In all things,” whether its my talk and walk away from church, my actions toward others, or things that only I will see, or something as simple as an ipad app “to honor and Glorify Him.”