Today I taught a lesson in Primary (the 3-11 year old children at church) and the topic was, "Dressing modestly shows respect for Heavenly Father and myself."
This can be a touchy subject. It makes people nervous. I understand those feelings to a point, but I also believe strongly in sharing the gospel standards unapologetically. Our prophet has given us standards on modesty and I am so thankful for them! These standards protect us, they help us remember how precious our bodies are, they enable us to demonstrate that we follow & love Jesus Christ, and when we follow these standards we can be blessed with the Spirit. (For the Strength of Youth)
That being said, I wanted to share my lesson plan on modesty. It was on a Primary-age level, shared the standards matter-of-factly, and it was fun! And I felt that it went well - the kids listened, they participated, and they took in the message.
Walk to the front of the room carrying a basket full of laundry. "Hello! I had such a busy weekend, we were cleaning out closets and drawers and I have all these clothes that I need to sort through. Would you be willing to help me sort it out later? I found one particular shirt that I love and I really want to wear it for you today."
Pull out this shirt and put it on over your clothing. Purchase a pack of basic white boys' undershirts (cheap at Walmart) and add text with iron-on transfer sheets.
INTRODUCE THE DOCTRINE:
Last week we talked all about this - My body is a Temple. We talked about how we need to take good care of our bodies by keeping it clean, eating healthy foods, exercising, getting enough sleep, and treating our bodies well because they are a gift from Heavenly Father.
READ TOGETHER : "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? . . . the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are." 1 Corinthians 3:16-17
When I read this scripture I sometimes picture Heavenly Father grabbing us by the shoulders and saying, "Don't you know that you are the temple of God? Don't you know how special you are?" Your body is a temple of God. And when you know that your body is a temple you are going to treat it differently.
One of the ways we treat our bodies like temples is by dressing modestly.
My Gospel Standards says, "I will dress modestly to show respect for Heavenly Father.
Why do we care about dressing modestly? (To show respect for Heavenly Father and for ourselves)
For Senior Primary : Invite 2 children to read the first 2 paragraphs of For the Strength of Youth, Dress & Appearance
Your body is sacred. Respect it and do not defile it in any way. Through your dress and appearance, you can show that you know how precious your body is. You can show that you are a disciple of Jesus Christ and that you love Him.
Prophets of God have continually counseled His children to dress modestly. When you are well groomed and modestly dressed, you invite the companionship of the Spirit and you can be a good influence on others. Your dress and grooming influence the way you and others act.
Review questions (to make sure they were listening!) Print these phrases, post on the board, and fill in the blanks.
Dressing modestly shows that you ________ Jesus Christ
_________ have told us to dress modestly.
_________ can be with you when you dress modestly & are well groomed
The way you dress influences the way _____ & ______ act.
Laundry basket activity: The basket is full of t-shirts with the following labels. Call a child up to choose one shirt. Show it to the group, read the label out loud and ask, "should we keep it or throw it away?" The kids will giggle at some of the labels so emphasize the ones that are kind of funny like, "I'm just sloppy". Throw the unwanted t-shirts into the garbage or across the room into the corner. If the t-shirt is a keeper, let the child wear it over their clothing to display for the rest of the Primary. Most of the decisions can be made pretty quickly - the kids know the standards well. Others you might want to take more time to explain.
Teach that one part of modest dress is being neat & clean. We should dress neatly & pay attention to grooming. Don't be sloppy. :)
The kids laughed when we read "my stomach is showing". :)
Again, teach that part of modesty is wearing clothes that are neat & clean. Clothes that are intentionally torn or have holes to fit in with a style are probably not the best. // Also, the messages that we communicate with our clothes (literally) are important. Make sure if there are words on your shirt they are respectful -- not rude or offensive.
Another example of how modesty applies to boys & girls alike - comb your hair! :)
In the laundry basket there was another shirt with the "My Body is a Temple" label. When it was chosen we sang, "The Lord Gave Me A Temple"
Make copies of the following handout - "I will dress modestly by . . . ". Distribute these to the children with crayons and invite them to draw a picture of themselves dressed modestly, or write down what they are going to do to dress modestly.
As time allows, invite children to share their pictures & ideas. Or you may post the drawings on the chalkboard or around the room.
Restate the lesson title - Dressing modestly shows respect for Heavenly Father and myself - and close with your testimony.
I printed these as 4x6 photos and gave one to each child. (Yes I know there is a typo.)
Hope this is helpful to anyone who needs to teach on this subject. I thought it went really well! One of my junior primary boys came to me after class and asked if he could keep one of the t-shirts. He made sure to specify that he wanted one of the "good ones." Sure! And he gave me the biggest hug. I love it when I can connect with the Primary kids and see these gospel lessons sinking it. That is simply the best!