“Boys Will Be Boys” Until We Expect Them To Become Men

In Advice and Encouragement, For the Guys by Debra Fileta10 Comments

A few days ago, a post about bikini’s blew up my website as well as my Facebook Page with readers, comments, and important conversation surrounding the topic of modesty.

In summary, my post explained why we as a family are choosing to say “no” to bikinis, and that we see general modesty (for both the males and females in our family) as an opportunity to value our body in a world and culture that tends not to. (If you haven’t read that post – you can read it here). Being aware of how we dress is one aspect of displaying modesty and valuing our body in a way that isn’t normally thought about in our culture at large.

But as the comments came rolling in, I wanted to make sure I wrote a post to address the men out there, as well – because modesty isn’t just for the women. It’s for the men, too. 

In fact, if you look up the word modesty, it has absolutely nothing to do with gender. It’s defined by: behavior, manner, or appearance intended to avoid impropriety or indecency.

Modesty comes down to doing our part to avoid indecency. It can be present in how we dress. It can be displayed in how we behave. It can exist in how we interact. And modesty can most definitely be expected in how we think.

Just as we’re teaching our girls to value their bodies, we’re teaching our boys to value their minds, their thoughts, and their behaviors. We’re teaching them to take ownership of their internal world, just as much as they take ownership of their external world.

We’re teaching them that the objectification of women is NOT the standard, and in fact, it’s unacceptable in this home. We’re teaching them to see the opposite sex as living, breathing, human beings who deserve honor, respect, and equality in every way.

We’re teaching them that THEY are in charge of their own modesty – by avoiding indecency in how they dress, in how they act, in how they think, and everything in between. We want to raise boys who rise above the noise of this world, and realize that honoring and empowering the women in their lives begins from the inside-out.

We’re not okay with simply painting the broad brushstroke that “boys will be boys”, because we don’t want to raise boys – we want to raise men.

Men that take ownership of their thoughts and behaviors.

Men that exhibit self-control, in both the “easy” things, and in the “difficult” things. 

Men that value women as equals, and give them the honor and respect they deserve. 

Men that aren’t simply driven by their sexual impulse, but are instead, anchored by their faith.

Men that understand that what they take in will either fuel their spirit, or poison their soul.

Men that believe that self-gratification at the expense of others is no gratification at all.

Men that live to honor God, above all. Especially when nobody’s watching.

For our family, we want modesty to be a defining characteristic for our boys and for our girls, because want them to value themselves and those around them in a way that portrays honor, respect, and integrity. I’ve said it once, and I’ll say it again: modesty is not body-shaming…it’s body-valuing: the valuing of our body, the valuing of our mind, and the valuing of our heart.

Share below: what are your thoughts on the subject and why? (only kindness will be accepted in the comment section). 

Debra Fileta is a Professional Counselor, national speaker, relationship expert, and author of True Love Dates: Your Indispensable Guide to Finding the Love of Your Life, where she writes candidly about dating, relationships, and how to find true love. Her newest relationship book is set to be released in the Summer of 2018! You may also recognize her voice from her 200+ articles at Relevant Magazine, Crosswalk.com, and all over the web! She’s the creator of this True Love Dates Blog, reaching over 4 million people with the message that healthy people make healthy relationships!  Connect with her on Facebook or Twitter or book a session with her today!

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  1. Morning Debra,
    I Love this post, and I agree with all your statements 100%. The question is how to do we retrain the masses in their ways of thinking, and idealogy? How do we change the minds of a society of people who are mentally conditioned to think, and believe a certain way, and that way of thinking is passed down from generation to generation? How do we get a society of people to Unlearn, all of the bad, wrong, destructive, negative, warped, and backwards teachings they’re received most, or all of their lives? It’s easy to teach people things, but much much more difficult to get them to Unlearn the bad and wrong things that are etched in their brains.
    Even outside of society, within our families, too often boys and girls are raised very differently, with very different standards. And people wonder why we have a society with so many men who are horrible in relationships and marriage, and who lie and cheat, deceive, and leave women single with children, and resist marriage and commitment. It should come as no surprise at all if we really think about how boys are raised, and what they learn and carry with them as they become men. Especially with men being called to be the “leaders” and “heads of household” it’s doubly imperative to raise boys who become good “Godly” men. But the question is where, and how do we begin to initiate this change in our society, and our world?

  2. The culture at large indeed tends to objectify women. But do you see this as an issue in elsewhere as well, Debra?

    I guess I’m wondering who the target audience is for your article, since the idea of not objectifying women seems, to me at least, pretty much a no-brainer.

    Do you see the lack of “mental modesty” as a problem just in the culture at large, or do you see it in the men in church as well?

    1. Author

      Yes, it’s a problem in the culture at large and absolutely within the “men in the church” as you said.

  3. I have two boys and two girls, aged 17-27 and the oldest is now married with a son of his own. In retrospect, I would teach about modesty without breaking it down so much between male/female because both sexes can struggle with the same issues. At some point, though, they will make their own decisions and those might differ from yours, though not necessarily be sinful. For that reason, though I tend to like most of what I’ve read so far on your website, I might respectfully suggest that you primarily teach principles (across your website; not just on this issue) and be very careful when sharing your particular practices as people tend to grab onto the practices instead of seeking the Lord and developing their own convictions.

  4. Wow! This was very well said Debra! I agree with you! And Jayla, your follow up question is really insightful.
    First of all on behalf of men, or boys in men’s bodies, I want to apologise for our lack of honor, inclusion and protection for you as women. It grieves me to see the lack of godly men in this generation. I see a lot of single women running for Jesus with all their heart and then being discouraged that they don’t see the men around them running after Jesus at the same depth, if the men are even there.
    I wish I could speak into every boy/man and tell them to wake up! Men! One of the most attractive things to a righteous woman is for you to running after Jesus and love Him with all of your heart, with all your soul, with all you mind and with all your strength and to love those around you, but you’ve got to be a great reciever of Father’s Love to be a great giver of His love, so get your priorities straight.
    I am tired of see men who think they know what a woman wants, big muscles, confidence in self (over confidence in God), being rich or having a good job…. Oh men, I cry for your future! Surrender your lofty ideas and go, get to know the One who created Men, who created Manhood! If you want to know how to be a man, read for yourself how Jesus lives in the Bible. He has all authority in Heaven and on Earth and yet He had no desire to show off His power for the sake of pleasing man, He only did as He saw His Heavenly Father doing.

    He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him.”
    John 14:21 NASB

    One of them, a lawyer, asked Him a question, testing Him, “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” And He said to him, ” ‘Y ou shall love the Lord your G od with all your heart , and with all your soul , and with all your mind .’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘Y ou shall love your neighbor as yourself .’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”
    Matthew 22:35‭-‬40 NASB

    “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls . For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
    Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NASB

    1. “on behalf of men, or boys in men’s bodies, I want to apologise for our lack of honor, inclusion and protection for you as women”

      As a man who has honor and protection in his dealings with his wife and children I take exception to the patronizing virtue-signaling here. Men don’t need Jonathan to paint us all with his misandrist broad brush. Instead, I would point out that I have a 20 year old son of incredible honor who treats women very well. I have observed young men and women who act well and young men and women who don’t.

      It is enough to call everyone to a life of modesty and virtue without resorting to the feminist assumptions that say women are morally superior to men. This is unbiblical and unnecessary.

  5. Amen to that Debra!!!!! Both men and women need to know the importance of modesty especially in the church. As my Granny said one time, may God rest her soul, everything shouldn’t be put out in a showcase, leave something to the imagination, true beauty of a woman is what she possess on the inside. Thank you for writing another awesome and real article, Debra, have a awesome and blessed week!!!!! Keep the articles coming!!!!!!

  6. As a man, I get a little tired of this rhetoric of “women are innocent, men are bad” in these dating blogs.

    Yeah, I’m a guy, so I’ll assume my opinions on the matter won’t register to most as more than a “boy” who wants to legitimatize/moralize bikinis.

    So, wear one-pieces. Heck, wear Victorian-era bathing garments if it really gets to you, I don’t care. But to me, this topic has hit a nerve with the author and a significant portion of the decidedly woman-dominate readership. That’s completely understandable and justified.

    What isn’t is the fallout that has made this emotionally-charged topic into a reactionary firestorm of directives on what women should do and not do to “protect” the men. How the boys need to “man up”. How selfless of you. How heroic. And how incredibly patronizing.

    Now, I’m just one man. A Christian man who believes that both sexes have their short-comings, flaws, and sin, that goes against God’s requirement for how we are supposed to view the opposite sex. We struggle in different ways but we are all equally culpable. This isn’t about bikinis. This is about throwing around blame and claiming spiritual superiority.

    Also, other men in the conversation, you don’t have to self-flagellate yourself or the entire sex to make your point. I respect Debra and I respect women. I also fear and love God. But these last few posts have rubbed me the wrong way and I felt I had to voice an opinion that I have not seen publicly expressed elsewhere on this site.

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