Boys and girls are different. They are not different in the way one child is shy and another outgoing, and not like one child has mom’s eyes and the other has dad’s eyes. Boys and girls are different like a table is different from a chair. They share some common attributes but they serve different functions. Men and women are both created in God’s image, they both have equal worth, but God designed them to be different. The distinctions between male and female are grounded in God’s act of creation recorded for us in Genesis chapter one.
We have a responsibility as Christian parents to train our children according to God’s good design for men and women. We need to teach our boys what it means to be male and not female. And we need to teach our girls what it means to be female and not male. Our efforts to do this will be in direct opposition to the ruling philosophy of the age.
Over eighteen years ago my wife was pregnant with our first baby. I told a coworker she was pregnant and he surprised me with his response.
“You’re not going to genderize your kids are you?”
“What do you mean?” I asked, honestly not understanding.
“You know; are you going to let your girls play with trucks and your boys play with dolls?”
I don’t recall my answer; I’m sure it was gracious but probably not what he wanted to hear.
That was almost two decades ago. It struck me as odd at the time. But today I would not be surprised if someone said this to me. In fact people are saying it to me all the time. They are saying it to you as well. It may not be said directly to your face, but the world around you is sending a clear message – gender should not defined biologically and children should be free to make their own choices related to gender.
We can’t keep our children protected from these ideas forever. If they haven’t already encountered these strange ideas regarding gender – the time is coming when they will. You may have family, friends, or neighbors that are confused about gender. In fact, you might even run into this confusion among homeschoolers. Confusion about God’s good design doesn’t have boundaries, it crosses all ethnic, social, economic, political, and philosophical lines. People are people and the devil is at work wherever people exist.
Mom and dad, you have a tough job ahead as you help your children navigate these things. Let me suggest three lines of defense as you seek to train your children Biblically about gender.
First, study the topic deeply yourself. Read the relevant Bible passages related to manhood and womanhood in Scripture. Seek knowledge of the subject from your pastors. Read books on the topic and let your study transform you. Our homes should be the training ground for a Biblically informed view of manhood and womanhood. We should joyfully embrace and display God given roles in our homes. Our children will learn more from watching us than from anything else.
Second, teach your children. Don’t let your children leave your home without a Biblical understanding of male and female roles. The stakes are high, the battle lines have been drawn. Prepare your children for the world they will face when they are grown and leave your house.
Wisdom will be needed as you do this. You will need to teach these things at appropriate ages and in appropriate ways. Ask God to help you. But however you do it don’t neglect to teach these things.
Third, teach compassion for the gender confused. In I Corinthians 6 the Apostle Paul gives a list of sins people commit who will not inherit the kingdom of God. The church in Corinth had some people among them who were once in this excluded group. But they were washed, they were sanctified, they were justified. God’s grace extends to places where our love, at first, may not. God’s grace can take a gender confused person and turn them into a man or woman totally changed and in love with the Savior. Teach your children God’ truth about gender but also teach them God’s mercy for sinners.
Gender distinctions are being blurred by the world – but Christians must not have fuzzy thinking about these issues. The lines of gender must not be blurry in our homes. We must be willing to stand on the truth of Scripture even when others don’t. And we must be willing to be different from those who don’t think Biblically about these issues. But we already are different. We’re used to being different- we’re homeschoolers.