A few weeks ago an honest question about gender was posted in the ABCJesusLovesMe Facebook group. The longer I thought about the question and the responses, the more my heart hurt. The enemy has twisted something that used to be so simple into something that causes doubt, fear, and confusion.
As you wrestle with the issue of gender, here are a few points that I encourage you to pray over.
1. Begin with the End in Mind
To help our children understand who God created them to be (Genesis 1:27, Matthew 19:4), we began with the end in mind and made sure the gender line was very clear.
Deciding where that line will be for you is a family decision. But to help clear up the confusion, I encourage you to think about where you want to end up when your son or daughter is 18. If you don’t want them doing something that blurs the line at 18, don’t allow it at 8.
But understand that crossing the line of what is considered “normal” gender play when a child is 3-years-old is age-appropriate. Frequently preschool-aged children role-play the opposite sex as they play house or school. Girls play with trucks and boys with dolls because a toy is a toy to a child. This play builds their imaginations.
2. Strong Role Models
Children need strong role models in their lives. If your son doesn’t have a godly dad, find a man in your church who can help fill that gap and do “manly” things with him. Someone to teach him what it means to respect women and discover the “wild heart” that God created in him (Wild at Heart by John Eldridge).
If your daughter is lacking a lady in her life to show her what it means to be a godly woman, seek a woman to shepherd her. Someone to lead her in activities that will allow her to grow into a godly wife, mom, and friend. Find a woman who can guide
3. Use One-Lines
Many times children say statements to get a response. That is why I like the Love and Logic one-liner “Aren’t you glad that I don’t believe that.” If your child says something like “God messed up when He made me,” you can respond with this one-liner. And then move on. Later on when everyone is well rested, take time to talk about how God created us unique, special, with a plan, future, and hope (Jeremiah 29:11).
4. Celebrate Gender Uniqueness and Strengths
Model to your children the positive uniqueness that men and women have. For example, are you respecting your husband or negative toward him because he isn’t like you? Are you allowing your husband to be a man? Do you admire the unique strengths that your husband brings to parenting?
For a husband, do you praise your wife in front of your children for the hard work that she does in your home? Do you allow your wife time to share and discuss knowing that this is necessary for many women? Do you appreciate what your wife brings to the parenting journey?
I’m not saying that all girls should be wearing dresses, like pink, and grow up to be nurses. Nor am I saying that all boys should crave the outdoors, love power tools, and grow up to be builders. I believe that both men and women can enjoy cooking, be teachers, and change diapers!
What am I encouraging you to do is take time to discuss with your spouse or a godly mentor the issues of gender as you raise your children. Each family has to make their own choices. All I can do is lead you back to the truth of the Scriptures (the whole Bible, not picking and choosing verses to support your desire). I can invite you to seek directly through prayer and wise counsel. And then, I can encourage you to be bold in a world that has lost its absolutes.
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