Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Teaching Children to Protect Their Bodies





Earlier this year, inspired by this call to action, I wrote a book to help parents talk to their children about protecting their bodies.

I have used the text of this book to have frank discussions with my own children...to talk with them about their bodies, about sex, and about how to keep their minds and bodies safe from sexual abuse and free from the degrading notions about our bodies that are presented in all forms of media.  

The underlying principles upon which this book is based are the truths outlined in The Family: A Proclamation to the World.  These truths are some of the most basic to mankind, and I believe that they will benefit children and families of all faiths, everywhere.

The story that I wrote has now been illustrated by the lovely and extremely talented Jessica W. Clark of Jessica W. Clark Illustration (who you will hear from later in the celebration!)  Her illustrations really bring the text to life, and, in many instances, say what words cannot.

Jessica and I both felt it was an honor to collaborate on such a work and felt strongly influenced by the spirit as we did so.  

We are making our book "God Gave You a Body" available to you as a free download with the hope that parents everywhere will use this tool to empower their own children to understand, appreciate, and protect the beautiful gift that they have been given.

In the future, we hope to make the book available as an Ipad app...but in the meantime, please download, print, and share this book with the children in your life!


(To download, simply follow the link below, and print double-sided.)

Please, feel free to SHARE this post on Facebook, Pinterest, and with family and friends via email!  



Now it's YOUR TURN!

Now, please feel free to share YOUR crafts, creations, or FHE lessons inspired by The Family Proclamation below. When you add your link, your post will appear on all four blogs today for others to access across the blogosphere:


Oh yeah, and please check out today's other posts from Diapers & Divinity, MMM, and Chocolate on my Cranium!

71 comments:

  1. Thank you both for this book! This is a topic that brings me a lot of trepidation as a parent.

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    1. Thank YOU, Courtney for all your blog help this last little while! :)

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  3. I'll share this with my sons for their families...great idea!

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  4. This is excellent - thank you so much! :-)

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  5. Thank you for sharing this lovely book. The examples of modesty are absolutely wonderful! The only tiny thing I disagree with is that simple nudity is not the same as pornography. Michaelangelo's David is NOT pornography. We can teach children pornography is any image that is used to sell sex, or the powers of procreation. (The word comes from latin words for prostitute and picture and originally meant pictures of a prostitute and her activities.) Lingerie catalogs and swimsuit editions of sports magazines ARE pornographic, although the models are not completely nude because they are selling sex. If we teach children that nudity equals porn then we teach them to be ashamed of the beauty and miracle of the human body; we see their shame or embarrassment in their squeals when they see a baby or toddler naked. Children seem to have a natural modesty about their bodies that kicks in around 4 to 6 years. We can teach them that they are recognizing that our bodies are sacred and not to be shared with others until the proper time and place. Thank you so very much for all you do to teach righteousness and spread the gospel. Blessings to you and your family.

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  6. Wow, this is amazing! Thank you! I'm going to add the link to this onto my FHE lesson on teaching kids about sex from a gospel perspective. http://thegoldenseven.blogspot.com/2010/05/teaching-kids-about-sex-from-gospel.html

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    1. Oh cool! Thank you, Lara!!! Good to hear from you! :)

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  7. Thank you so much for sharing this book, it is beautiful! I look forward to sharing it with my family and maybe even with Activity Day girls.

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  8. I love your book! It's excellent, and Straightforward. If I use it with my kids I will add a slight clarification to the part where you say "don't let anyone touch you in a place covered by your underwear" - as the daughter of a LCSW who dealt with families and abuse victims, and having gone through foster care preserving training, I will say that isn't good enough. Our children should know that they should not let anyone touch them in ANY way that makes them feel uncomfortable - whether than is a hand on the back, arm, head, foot, someone trying to hold their hand, touch their face, etc. if it makes them feel uncomfortable, they should tell someone about it. A lot of sexual abuse does not start with someone going straight for private parts - often, especially in the case of a family member (where most abuse occurs) it starts with excessive "normal" affection - kissing, hugging, etc.

    (I also agree with Rozy Lass' clarification on nudity, but both of these topics are probably ones a parent could add in their discussion - it might be helpful to include a parents guide in your book - like a "How to Use This Book to Teach Children" in which you could address some of the complexities that can be addresses additionally but may not be appropriate for the actual text of the book)

    But the book is a great start for these kinds of discussions.

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    1. Thanks for that added bit of advice, Becca! The book's text is purposefully simple so that parents can lead their own discussions with children about where to draw the line and how best to protect themselves! Your comments are exactly what the book is meant to invoke in a parent/child discussion. Thank you!

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  9. Thanks for the free download! And I am loving Jessica's art.

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    1. She is amazing...truly inspired works of art on every page!

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  10. Wonderful! Thank you so much for sharing your time and talents with us!

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  11. Love the free download. I'm taking it to Office Max to have it printed off. I read the comments and was surprised that some of your readers need to expand on their take on your book...that's what they are do with any of their books/lessons in their homes, with their families. Perhaps they just wanted justification. altho I don't see David as pornographic, I have always wondered WHY so many great art work involves nudity. Exactly where was the mind of the artist? Certainly not for graphic illustrations for medical research. So then...who's to say the intent in the beginning. And what does that classic nude figure evoke in minds that are wavering?

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    1. Hi Susan, It's Jessica, the illustrator of the book. There is a blog post that I love that I just read about nude art from a LDS artist, here is the link:

      http://jkirkrichards.wordpress.com/2012/09/02/why-are-you-painting-those-naked-ladies-or-what-makes-me-think-i-can-go-to-a-nude-drawing-session-on-saturday-and-then-go-to-church-on-sunday/

      If your interested.

      But here is my 2 cents, first thing I want to say, I do believe that some nude art is pornographic, and like it's been mentioned before I don't think the David is pornographic, I have actually seen the sculpture in real life, and it was incredible and almost life changing for me as an artist, and I did have a spiritual moment staring at that sculpture for a good 45 minutes. It taught me that the human body is beautiful and it's the greatest creation that our Heavenly Father has created, and also that for a human to sculpt that out of marble is a god given talent, and there is no way he couldn't have done that without some inspiration of some sort, as I have been inspired as I was illustrating this book.

      I also I want to explain why artists might have nude art paintings/studies. Like doctors we have to study and learn about the body to be able to draw the body. When I was in college I had to take many figure drawing classes, since it was BYU-Idaho the model was in shorts and sports bra if they were a female. I will admit as an 18 year old about to draw my first model I was a little nervous, I didn't know what to expect, but my figure drawing classes were my favorite by far. I loved it! I loved drawing the human body, and again I saw how beautiful it was, and my teachers were always very good telling us that the body is to be respected and that when it's used in a right way it is beautiful and that it's sad that the world has corrupted it.
      After I graduated my husband (an artist as well) moved to PA, and lived by a college and they had figure drawing every Monday evening. Since it wasn't a church school the model was in nude, I went to try it out so I could have my own opinion if I thought it was inappropriate to draw a completely nude body, and when I went there the spirit was the same as my figure drawing classes in BYU-Idaho, when the body is used in correct ways it is a very beautiful thing.
      Some people say that artists don't need to draw from nude to be good artists, for me personally drawing the figure from life nude or somewhat covered up has made me the artist that I am today. If I had not study the body through drawing the figure and taking anatomy classes I would not have been able to illustrate this book.

      Not everyone has to agree with my opinion, but I thought it would be nice to hear from an artist's point of view.
      And what's beautiful about this book is Jocelyn had wrote it in such a way that you can be more specific with your children and talk about these topics in a way you feel comfortable with.

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    2. I love your explanation of art. I have a daughter studying art right now at BYU-I, so i appreciated your imput on this. Very inspirational to me.

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    3. Thank you so very much for sharing that website, Jessica; I'm not an artist but took several art history classes in college so am very interested in the actual words and perspectives of artists. Bro. Richards' take on nudity is exactly how I feel, but he expressed it so much better than I could. Thanks again.

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  12. You gals did a terrific job! The illustrations are beautiful and the text, as you said, is simple but allows parents to lead their own discussions with their children. GREAT JOB!!!

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  13. I love this book! This is great, and so beautifully done. If the mothers can understand these principles...that is more than 1/2 the battle! Teaching young women about modesty is so challenging IF the mothers don't fully understand why modesty matters, that modesty is full-time, and we dont' take holiday or special occasion breaks. We just had homecoming at our house with my twin daughters who are 18 and their great group of friends going to the dance. Finding the right dresses takes weeks and is a huge deal. The girls all had beautiful modest dresses on and they shined inside and out. The boys love the girls in modest dresses, and they tell them, 'thank-you for dressing modestly"!

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  14. Just added a link to this post on our ward's Primary FB page. It's great work, Jocelyn! :) ♥~Candace

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  15. Thank you so much for the book. I will be saving to print off when I have chuldren. I am greatful for people like you to who are willing to share your talents to help me and my family.

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  16. Thank you both for a wonderful book, being able to approach this topic with children is a needed discussion especially now when so many corrupt the beauty of bodies. It is God's most beautiful creation.
    You have worded it so well that it will let me discuss with my boys what I believe also needs to be taught, about the scariness of pornography and the difference of both sides of that fine line.
    Thank you thank you!!
    Jess
    Latter-day Chatter

    PS Shared it with my readers :) Thank you thank you!

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    1. Thank you Jess...that's just what I hoped the book would accomplish...open discussions between parent and child. And thanks for sharing with your readers!!

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  17. Jocelyn, I love this so much. And I seriously feel honored that I somehow played a role in its conception. Love it.

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  18. Thank you for sharing your book. I have long believed that it is vitally important for children to have clear, accurate, and spiritual information about sex, modesty, and one's body.

    A few of my close family members were sexually abused by relatives. I didn't learn of the abuse until I was an adult. I felt like my world and family was destroyed. The only way I could cope with the terrifying and paralyzing fear that my children could be abused was to begin to educate them, as I was never really educated. (To be clear, I have incredible parents, but they sucked in teaching about sex.)

    So thank you for creating such a wonderful resource, and then being generous enough to share it, free of charge.

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  19. Thank you for your genorosity in sharing your book.

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  20. What a beautiful book on such an important topic. Thank you so much for sharing it!

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  21. THANK YOU for creating and sharing this book! I will be using this with my own small children. I just pinned it, and shared the link on FB, as I think it is good to share with as many people as we possibly can. Perhaps one some will be led to the fulness of the Gospel through this Family Proclamation Celebration. And, if not, they may take some of it and bless their lives with it anyway!

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  22. Thank you sooo much for this book!! My son just started preschool and I was trying to figure out a way to start discussions about our 'bodies'. We talked a little when at church the primary sharing time lesson was on how our bodies are temples. I needed something more so that I can bring the topic up and we can discuss it further and this is perfect!!! Thank you soo much for offering it to us- all the hard work you guys put into is just wonderful!!! Thank you!!!

    Delina

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    1. You're welcome...thank YOU Delina for using it to help your little ones!

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  23. Thank you both for this free book. It is beautiful!

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  24. Thank you- I am going to print it for my Grandchildren :)
    Thank you Jocelyn for making me think today :)
    Love this!

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  25. So great--thank you for sharing!

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  26. YOU are amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this with us! My family really needs it right now. I can't express how grateful I am.

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    1. Oh yes...we all need this right now...the children of the world really do need these beautiful truths. I'm glad it's filling a need in your family as well!

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  27. Thanks guys! I can't wait to add this to my son's bookshelf!

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  28. Wow! What an amazing gift! Thank you!

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  29. This is really wonderful. I have to add that I very much appreciate the beautiful diversity depicted in the artwork. Ours is a multi-ethnic family (and we have several friends with that same situation) and it pains me when literature for young LDS children doesn't reflect the diversity that does exist in the Church. It is wonderful for children of all skin and hair colors to be able to see someone who looks like them.

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    1. Thanks and we agree!!! :) I like for my children to see diversity reflected as well...because it is there in the church and in the world.

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  30. This is a beautiful book. Thank you!

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  33. I like that you include boys and girls in your modesty book. But I was disappointed that only girls were featured on the page talking about how much coverage is modest.

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  34. I hope this gets published in hard copy! Well done!!! Thank you!!! And so well timed for my need! Thank you for the artists' comment and article on nude art. Living in Europe right now we see our fill and I really appreciate having these words to frame my thoughts and discussions with our kids and visitors.

    I thought I'd share two books that would suit your readers. I'm so excited I found them recently while I need them for my young kids!

    By Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley. Available on Amazon for ~$16 each.

    "Who's Got What?"
    The first is geared toward 2-7 year olds as a family takes a trip to the beach with their dog. Good illustrations of what's inside and outside the body that makes us male or female. I shared this with my 3 and 6 yr old and they enjoyed the information and story. Nice and basic.

    "It's So Amazing: A book about Eggs, Sperm, Birth, Babies, and Families"
    For 5-10 yr olds that want to or need to know more than who's got what. I'm sure many adults will learn a thing or two as a refresher course! Bite-sized sections for easy digestion of big topics so kids and parents can take it all in at their own pace! Topics include anatomy, feelings about these topics, puberty, reproduction, sex, sexuality, keeping your body safe, birth, adoption, family types, and STDs -- in 79 pages! The artwork and text are very thorough without conveying a bias which I find to be the most amazing part! The comic strip illustrations and text are very age appropriate to draw a child in and get them talking.

    I have begun sharing "It's so amazing" with my 8 year old son because I know kids around him are beginning to have conversations that make me want to homeschool! I have printed the Proclamation to post inside the book as my reference as we go through each section. I want him armed with good information and our values so he can choose the right and be strong for others.

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    1. Thank you so much for these book suggestions...You know I am always looking for good books to help me teach and empower my children. Love it, thank you!

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  35. Thank you! I really appreciate all your hard work!

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  36. Thank you! I really appreciate all your hard work!

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  37. What a wonderful tool for parents to share with their kids. Thank you for creating a wonderful piece of literature. Stopping by from Empower Tuesday hop, glad you stopped by

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  38. This is fantastic, thank you so much for sharing it with all of us! Pornography is a tough issue, especially for young children, because it can exist anywhere. Certain art, while considered classical and cultured, CAN be considered pornographic for some people, and I think it's good to set those parameters wide until the children are old enough to decide for themselves. I love the book, and the art is fantastic! Thanks again!

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  39. I think this is a beautiful start, and I think it is definitely a jumping off point for further discussion. However, as a parent, I plan on being very, very careful about the message I send to my son. When my husband was a young boy growing up in an LDS family, I can promise you that he was dressing modestly when he was molested by someone the family knew and trusted. Dressing modestly didn't "keep him safe" from this person, and it was absolutely not his fault that he assaulted, regardless of what he was wearing at the time. I would hate for any young boy or girl to believe that their molestation or rape was partially their fault because their shorts were above their knee or their belly was showing. I would want my son to know that if someone attacks him, it is the fault of the terrible person who did it, not his.

    Again, I think that this is a great book, and that it will be good to facilitate discussion within families, which is the key. Thanks for offering it for free so we can use it in our own family.

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    1. Absolutely and I would expect any parent reading this to understand and make that clear to children. As LDS people we understand that modesty protects us from MANY things...not just people with evil designs. It provides us many levels of spiritual protection and safety. Let's not lose sight of those benefits of modesty.

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  40. I love it! That's great Jocelyn & the illustrations are darling!

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  41. Thank you so much for sharing this book. We love it and love following your blog!!

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  42. Hi Jocelyn and Jessica,

    Thank you for this wonderful book. I was wondering if you guys had thought about having this book translated to Spanish. We only speak Spanish in our home and I would love to share it with my 2 yr. old. I'm willing to help with the translation. Please let me know if you are interested.

    Sincerely,

    Nina Hong
    nhong8@gmail.com

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  43. I love this book! It is beautifully illustrated and the message is so solid. I'm a little uncomfortable throwing the term "pornography" around so openly with the age group this book is written for- under 5? I wouldn't want my child knowing that word that young, but I love how it speaks to appropriate boundaries with appropriate touch and saying it's okay to speak up.

    Question: What are the garbage bags on the last page of the book about?

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    1. Garbage bags represent service....the kids are cleaning up the park

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    2. Thank you. I feel it is important to discuss these things, even pornography, because even young children are bombarded by it in almost every form of media. I also know it is a tool used by people who harm children. I def expect parents to tailor the message to their own children though!

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    3. All I could think of was maybe they were throwing their immodest clothes away! lol

      That seems like a totally different subject than what the book was about. I would have expect a family hugging in front of the temple, overcoming the struggles of the world around them or something.

      If it was a book about service and kindness to others that would make perfect sense though!

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    4. I can see where you were confused for sure, but if you read the text of that page, we are ending by reminding children that bodies are good...that they can do many good things with their bodies...like working, playing, and serving others. That is the tie-in. The book is about our bodies...and we end on a very positive note by showing children in a park...running, playing, and working to make the world a better place...all are good things to do with their little bodies!

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  44. Thank you. I feel it is important to discuss these things even pornography because even young children are bombarded by it in almost every form of media. I also know it is a tool used by people who harm children. I def expect parents to tailor the message to their own children though!

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  45. I wish I had this last week for my Lesson. Tis ok I'll get it out!!

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  46. Wow this is amazing!!!! I just got done trying to talk to my daughter about these topics and I'm so happy to be able to share with her these things! Thank you. I wanted to cry as I read and looked at the pictures. Truly Heavenly Fathers hand was in this with you both! Thank you!
    Of course with any book there should be parental discussion so this is a great lead way to those things we would like to go further explaining. If too specific than it can start to not fit the general audience.
    I might even add that dancing needs to be modest. I had to search wide and far to finally find a dance studio that wasn't so suggestive and sexual in the moves they would teach young children.
    Thank you for sharing these things with us!!!!

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  47. I love your book! It's great to have an illustrated book to go along with what we try to teach our kids in FHE. THanks!

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  48. I'm just wondering why "fashionable" clothes with holes in them are considered immodest? I'm not at all being critical or rude... in fact, I do not buy my 6 and 4 year old jeans with holes already in them, but I have a pair or two with holes in the knees. I just thought it an odd choice to include in the list of immodest dress. There is no reason a person can't be dressed fashionably and modestly at the same time. I'm not sure if this is a LDS church thing? Other than that and the "shoulders must be covered" bit, I think this is a fantastic book.

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    1. Sure. Thanks for your comment. The guidelines in my book come from the dress guidelines given by church leaders to members of the lds church. I'm guessing the non ripped.clothing has to do with treating our bodies as temples...and reflecting our belief that bodies are special and to be treated with care. Of course there are people who care very much for their bodies who wear ripped clothing...the admonition could also be helping us to not follow the trends of the world. We have also been asked to keep piercing to no moreI than one set in each ear. Mainly I think the lord wants us to regard our bodies as sacred which really is the message of this book.

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