Teaching My Daughter How To Dress: A Letter To My 6-Year-Old


Photo by jill111 (2015) on Pixabay, CC0 PD.

My Dearest Daughter,

I realized the other day that I hadn’t brushed your hair in a few days. You are six years young, but old enough to be brushing your own hair and choosing your own clothes. And so, it is time. It is time I told you how beautiful you are. It is time I told you what a gift your body is, and how, when God created it, He saw all of the babies it would bear and all of the good deeds it would do. He created your body to be a home for more of His heavenly souls, but also to be a home for His Spirit.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price.  Therefore glorify God in your body.”     1 Cor 6:19-20

Your body is a temple! Did you know that, in Jesus’ time, a very important temple was built? This was a very special building with a huge space around it where people could come to worship God. But the holiest room inside the temple could only be entered by the High Priest.  Only one, holy person was allowed to enter so deeply into God’s house. Even though most people never saw the inside of the temple, “Everybody realized that this was the one most sacred place on earth, the one place on earth where somehow heaven and earth meet.” (from http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/temple.html)

Your body is like that inner room of the temple. It’s because you keep it covered that others realize how sacred it is. And I hope that some day, you will meet a man who is holy enough to respect that. Your body deserves to be reserved for the one worthy of entering the place where “somehow heaven and earth meet.” A worthy man will honor you and will look forward to your wedding day to hold you, kiss you, and love you.

When I suggest you wear a skirt that covers your knees or put a sweater over your bare shoulders, it’s not because I want to tell you how to dress. And it’s not because I am ashamed of how you look. I ask you to cover yourself because that is a sign to the world of how special you are. When I look at you, I see God, and that is what I want others to see, too.

You are beautiful, you are worthy, and you are sacred! Your beauty shines brightest through the veil of modest clothes, and your soul has room to grow under the protection of a body that demands respect. I love going shopping with you as we have fun being girls and finding pretty things to wear that make us look and feel our best. After all, it is a little easier to be kind and loving when our bodies reflect what our hearts want to do.

You make me feel so proud when you help your little sister choose pretty, modest clothes to wear. I hope you will always encourage other girls to respect the sacredness of their bodies in this way.

Most of all, I love watching the beauty of your heart grow and change with the beauty of your body. You are truly stunning, both inside and out!

I love you, dear daughter. May you always glorify God with your body and inspire others to do the same.

Copyright 2015 Charisse Tierney
Photo by jill111 (2015) on Pixabay, CC0 PD.


About Author

Charisse Tierney lives in Wichita, Kansas, with her husband Rob and seven children. Charisse is a stay-at-home mom, musician, NFP teacher, and a Catechesis of the Good Shepherd catechist in training. She is also a contributing author to The Catholic Mom's Prayer Companion and Family Foundations magazine. Charisse blogs at Paving the Path to Purity and can be found on Facebook.


  1. Oh yes, not exposed shoulders. The horror!

    Your girls are beauty no matter how they choose to dress. They aren’t worth less if you can see knees. Stop sexualizing women in this manner.

    • Jill, I think you are confused… Charisse is telling her daughter just how beautiful and worthy she is; that her beauty and worth far surpass exposed skin. The world is constantly telling our girls (at a younger and younger age, I might add) that they are only as good as the flesh they reveal; they are not a temple, they are not special, and their beauty depends upon limited clothing. Now tell me who is sexualizing our precious daughters?? And why do knees and shoulders need to be bare? In a society that absolutely is sexualizing our six year olds and stealing their innocence, I think it is all the more crucial now that our daughters take a strong stand, and what better way than through their clothing? Actions speak louder than words, after all. A woman who does not need to use her body to prove her worth shines with a beauty far superior, for it is a reflection of her inner virtue. And this is what I am instilling in my 4 year old: she is special, worthy, beautiful. But her inner beauty is most important, and clothing can be a fun way to reflect it. And with current fashion trends, her (our) modesty will be unique, and attractive in that it is so very different from most women’s clothing choices. I know you are wondering what is wrong with exposing body parts, but I am curious why it is so wrong to cover them… Certainly the latter is less sexual!

    • Jill, I agree with you that our girls are beautiful no matter how they choose to dress. Unfortunately, though, there are many people in this world who are not blessed with this pure vision of the human body. Before Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, they “were both naked, yet they felt no shame.” (Gen 2:25) After they ate the fruit, “the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized that they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made loincloths for themselves.” (Gen 3:7) It is precisely this moment in the Garden of Eden that tainted man’s (and woman’s) purity forever. Because of the stain of sin, we are no longer able to see the body and soul as one, pure entity, made in the image and likeness of God. The graces of the Sacrament of Matrimony help husband and wife to come closer to this ideal, but outside of the marital bed, we need to “sew fig leaves together” so to speak–we cover our bodies to protect them from impure glances and thoughts; and this, in turn, aids us in not leading others into sin. By covering those parts of our bodies that might draw the eye towards body parts that could trigger impure thoughts, we help others to focus on our God-given beauty that radiates from within; and this helps others to see our complete beauty, both inside and out. Even the angels cover themselves in the presence of God as a physical way to remind us of God’s supreme goodness which contrasts so sharply with our human sinfulness (see Isaiah 6:1-3) And so, in addition to leading others to purity, covering our bodies is a meaningful gesture of reverence for God–especially at Mass. I was not always as conservative in the modest dress area as I am now, but reading Colleen Hammond’s book, Dressing With Dignity really helped me to understand its importance. I hope this helps you to better understand where I am coming from! God Bless you for valuing women’s true beauty!

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