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Gentle Virtues


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04/01/2012 - Donned in aprons, my 11-year-old daughter, Marcelle, and I prepare for dinner. Being that it's Marcelle's first time to make cornbread, I go over the instructions with her. After receiving a cheery nod, I leave her to make the batter while I set the table, light the candles and check on the chili.

A half-hour later the kitchen timer dings and it's time to pull out the cornbread and feast. Anxiously we peer into the oven and our smiles go flat. They match the condition of the cornbread.

Politely I ask her if she added this, that and the other. We detect the problem when I say "baking powder". She assumed it called for baking soda, what we normally use in recipes. I assumed she knew the difference.

Let me tell you, baking soda is no substitute for baking powder. The two may look similar and sound similar by name but they are not the same. No matter how much honey we drizzled and poured on that cornbread, we could not get rid of that bitter taste of baking soda. For good taste and good results we needed the baking powder.

Modesty is like baking powder. With it, we have good taste and we get good results. Without it, life is bitter. There is no substitute for modesty.

In Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, modesty is defined as "propriety in dress, speech or conduct". In simple terms, it is being appropriate in our choice of clothes, words and actions. My dear community, are we modeling good taste especially before our children?

Modesty comes from the Latin root word "modus". It means "a limit".

Modesty willingly lives with limitations. With it, necklines go only so far down. Shorts go only so far up. And our thought life and responses go only so far.

Noah Webster, in the 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language defines modesty for females as "the sweetest charm of female excellence". Do our daughters know the difference between modesty and modern immorality? Let's not assume they do. Let's make sure they do. Their lives are precious. Parents of age•appropriate children, do your kids a favor. Lovingly let them know the difference between the sweet life and the bitter life. And if they tell you that you are being "old•fashioned", make some old-fashioned cornbread with baking soda and another with baking powder. Let them know good taste matters.

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