My kids share a bedroom. They have done this since my daughter was two. People have long since stopped giving me grief over it, but I used to get quite a few comments and raised eyebrows. Come to think of it, I’ve gotten that since they were born. I have no idea why our sleeping arrangements are of any interest to anyone else, but chalk this one up to the ways moms (and often women generally) cut each other down.
When both kids were under two, they slept in our room. As babies, they shared our bed. Gradually they each transitioned to a bed in our room, then to their own room. They’ve been together for almost 5 years. This summer, we’re giving them their own rooms. When I talk to people about moving rooms around, I can practically hear the sigh of relief that they won’t be changing in the same room anymore.
Honestly, the reason for giving them their own rooms has nothing at all to do with whether or not they see each other naked. It’s more because Sarah needs space for her ever-expanding collection of stuffed animals and Jack, because of his ADHD, needs a quiet place to do his homework. I would have been happy to let them share for a while longer.
What the heck is wrong with people? Why is everyone so concerned with my children and whether or not they see each other’s private parts? I really have no idea what anyone thinks is going to happen. I mean, if Sarah sees her brother’s penis, is her head going to start spinning around while she spews split pea soup? Good grief.
I know this is all bound up in the very screwed up way a lot of people view sex and bodies. They’re placing adult sensibilities on children who haven’t even reached puberty. I’m not gonna lie here, people need to deal with their own issues instead of projecting onto my kids.
I’m a lot less worried about whether my kids see each other naked, or whether they are “appropriately” modest, than I am about the kind of people they are becoming.
The things I choose to emphasize in my kids seem to be different from what many of my conservative acquaintances apparently believe are important. There’s a lot of pressure for me to choose activities for them that will keep them away from “impurity.” I should monitor their clothes, their friends, and their extracurricular activities carefully lest they be immodest, gay, or sexually active. This is the message I hear repeatedly. Strangely, no one seems concerned with whether or not I’m helping them become better people.
You can do everything “right” when it comes to purity and still be a raging—excuse my language—asshole. Trust me, I know a lot of people like that. They rage against our heathen, sexually charged culture, but every other word out of their own mouths is hateful, angry, and abusive. Yet they feel justified because they have lived their lives “biblically” (more on that later). I’ve actually removed some people (who profess to be Christians, no less) from my life because their hurtful words and actions against myself and others became too much.
Those are not the sorts of people I want my kids to emulate.
We’ve gotten to a point where, for a lot of Christians, sexual purity has become more important than treating others with respect. Sadly, we’ve forgotten that the Bible has just as much (or more) to say about generosity, honesty, and using our words wisely. Consider these verses
There are six things the Lord hates,
seven that are detestable to him:
a lying tongue,
hands that shed innocent blood,
a heart that devises wicked schemes,
feet that are quick to rush into evil,
a false witness who pours out lies
and a person who stirs up conflict in the community. (Proverbs 6:16-19)
Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”
Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:
“‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
They worship me in vain;
their teachings are merely human rules. ’”
Jesus called the crowd to him and said, “Listen and understand. What goes into someone’s mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them.” (Matthew 15:1-11)
My husband and I are choosing to raise kids who know how to speak kindly to others, who know that telling the truth is wise, and whose hearts are focused on doing what is good. We both believe that this is the starting point—placing others before themselves, rather than a list of all the things they aren’t supposed to do. Out of that love for others, the rest will follow.
And that is far more important than which room and which bed they sleep in, or whether or not they see each other’s naked butts.