I once went to a Rainbow Gathering for a few hours, with my mother and an elderly lady friend. My mother stared at the ground and the bushes in an effort to keep from seeing the many nudists wandering around. The older lady beamed around smiling. I felt like a tourist in a foreign land, perhaps glimpsing an uninhibited tribe of natives from the Amazon. I was pleased to be in this different culture. It was such a change of pace from how people lived just a few miles away. I half wondered how it would be to go to the market and don a pair of native "clothes." These men and women appeared so brave to me, wandering around unconcerned,in their birthday suits.
In the car on the way back, our elderly friend said pleasantly, "what cute young children." These simple words have been with me for many years. Perhaps we are all brothers and sisters on this earth, but how much more refreshing to be mothers and fathers instead, admiring all the children at play. How much kindness we could give our fellow humans, if we treated them as tenderly as good parents do.
There do not have to be sexual inuendos around nudity. We make our own issues and we can remove these issues for our children. Everyone has a body. We teach our children to feed, wash and care for their bodies. With birth comes quick learning of bodily limitations. We learn to move, experience hunger and pain, hot and cold. We should also strive to help our children feel more comfortable in their own skin. Understanding our relationship with the web of human life on the planet is essential to growth. Feeling "normal" is essential for self esteem. When we model good behavior for our children from a very young age, it becomes easier for them to build their own sense of comfort.
Some young children protest baths. Perhaps they don't like water, or the soap getting in their eyes, but all too often it is a lonely occassion where the child is washed and the parent tries to keep her own clothing dry. How much more natural it is to bath with your child, showing proper washing techniques, being a companion and modeling a love of cleanliness.
Modern society does not like nudity. Some years ago, there was much shock over a flash of naked breasts on TV. We see naked forest tribes in warm places exposing their breasts without concern. Breasts may be revered for their beauty, but they are also valued for their utility. Cultures that breastfeed produce naturally respectful men and women, not blown away by mystique and envy for something they never had. In the third world, where breastfeeding is still commonplace, women pop out a breast to feed a baby, anywhere and everywhere. Feeding a baby is never shameful. Babies are fed in the supermarket, bus stop and just walking down the street.
One young daughter of a friend, expressed shock when she first watched her mom change her newborn brother's diaper. He looked so different from her that she felt something must be wrong. How long do we expect to keep our children in ignorance. Isn't it our responsibility as parents to explain the world to our children?
If not us, the world will teach our children. For some it is slow. A young German couple, married for several years, were visiting a doctor for infertility treatment. After much unsuccessful treatment, and no physically reason they should not be conceiving children, the doctor hit upon an idea. He sat the young couple down and asked if them if they knew what married couples did to procure children. Yes, they said, we pray together every night. They had no idea what sex intercourse was.
Examine your own comfort levels. A commitment to attachment parenting is a committment to explore the world with our children. We are works in progress and can advance just like a growing child. Can you laugh when a stranger's three year old pops under the dressing room door of a large department store, sees your undressing body and yells with glee, "Hairy Barbarian!"? Viewing ourselves as ever beautiful beings, full of self worth, who are capable of both physical and mental creation, is the first step. Work to correct your own inhibitions and your children will have it one step less to go. Pass on your experience and confidence to the next generation. Over time, practice does makes perfect!