Food for Thought - May 12 2008

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There are a lot of myths concerning modesty. One of them is that modesty is Victorian. But, in fact, it dates back way before the Victorian era. It's in the Bible. As long as we've been human we've needed modesty, because as humans we don't just have sex; we also have emotions and vulnerability. Modesty prevented us from being vulnerable with the wrong people. It also protected deep, erotic connections between the right people. When you're young, modesty protects innocence, but when you're older it protects profound connections.

Also, modesty is not about prudery; it is about the opposite of prudery. When people are promiscuous, they can't be moved by anything. So, prudery and promiscuity actually have a lot in common: neither the promiscuous person nor the prude can be moved or touched by anything. The modest person can be moved by something and wants to be moved by something in the right circumstances.

Lastly, modesty is not, as the academy would have us believe, a social construct. Modesty is natural. Consider the behavior of the generation of twenty-somethings. We are taught that we aren't supposed to have meaningful, long-term relationships with one person that eventually culminate in marriage and sex, but that we are supposed to have casual hookups, where you meet a person at a party, have sex, and then never see the person again. That people get drunk before they do it is significant - it's a concession to modesty. In our sober, natural state, we can't do this. So we have to drug ourselves in order to pretend otherwise.

Excerpted from Why Modesty Matters, a new downloadable resource from Gifted for Leadership.

May12, 2008 at 11:29 AM

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