For many months now I have been pondering what it means, as a Christian mother, to help my children understand what femininity and masculinity look like according to God’s Word. Articles like this one, where an eight-year-old boy is allowed to dress in drag, and this one, with Planned Parenthood telling parents of three-year-olds that gender and genitals do not have to go together, are no longer shocking to our society. The noise of the LGBTQ movement is growing louder, and that means we must teach our children well.
Our kids need to know what it means to be a man or a woman. Not only should would be teaching them that boys have penises and girls have vaginas, we need to teach them what the Bible has to say about what it means to be their gender. I want my son to know that God made him a boy, and being a boy comes with responsibilities. I want my daughter to know not only that is she anatomically a girl, but that God has designed her for a specific role also.
It is important to help our children understand that culture is fickle. Until the ’80s, transgenderism and associated conditions were regarded as types of sexual perversion that were considered ethically objectionable. Today, Planned Parenthood tells preschoolers to chose the gender they want to be. Looking to culture to decide if you were born with the right genitalia is a dangerous choice.
One way that our society attempts to label people is by observing their interests or talents. They say that Johnny must be gay because he loves being in the drama club. But our interests have nothing to do with our sexuality. Furthermore, what is considered a girl hobby or a boy hobby is likely to change over time. For example, the work of a tailor was almost exclusively performed by men in colonial days. Today, however, if a man is interested in fashion, he is told that sewing is not a masculine thing. I have a friend who is an engineer and he enjoys sewing. To him, a sewing machine is a piece of machinery to be analyzed and manipulated in the way he wanted it to work. To me, it’s just how I make pretty curtains, but we both share the interest and it had no influence on either of our genders.
Our children need to be taught that God knew what He is doing when He created them. Sovereign Grace Kids has this awesome song called “Just the Way God Wanted Us to Be” and I play it for my kids every time I read an article about our country rejecting God’s plan for gender. This song is packed full of important biblical truths we need our kids to understand.
Besides this song on repeat, we need to teach our kids what is so special about being a boy or a girl. God created us as “different pieces of the puzzle, joined together perfectly” and we need to teach our kids to celebrate that reality. God wasn’t lighthearted or inattentive when He created any one of us in His image and our kids need to know and understand that amazing reality. Psalm 139 is a beautiful passage to memorize for this purpose. The Psalmist David describes God forming and knitting together our bodies before we were born and how intimately God knows us each day we will live.
Our significance to God started in Genesis when He created the universe. It is important to understand that there was order and purpose to all that He made. When it came to creating people, God did more than just speak us into existence; He gave us the privilege of being made in His image. He began with Adam (Genesis 2), then created Eve to be a helper.
It is important for our sons to understand their role as men and see this modeled in their lives. Throughout the New Testament, we are given several passages that define a man’s role (Ephesians 5 and 6, and Colossians 3 ). Men are to be the head of their household—a position that does not rob his wife of a say, but instead places accountability to God on his shoulders. Men are reminded not to hurt their spouse in their leadership because they are commanded (multiple times) to love their wives, and to sacrifice for them as Christ sacrificed Himself for our sin. Men are not to be harsh with their wives or to provoke wrath from their children.
Whether a man enjoys what society labels “manly” or not has no bearing on his gender or his calling from God. Men can like musicals or going shopping without having to question if they are masculine enough. Twins Jacob and Esau illustrate this truth. Esau liked to hunt and be outside and gained favor with his father. Jacob was a quiet homebody and a mama’s boy. Both ended up leading their families and living up to what the Bible tells us is a man’s role, even though their interests were completely opposite. We need to help the young men in our lives understand this before culture does the job for us.
Feminism has done so much to strip women of the value God crafted for us. Modern women hear the word “submit” and gag. However, the way God planned for us to work together is amazing if we embrace it. This is my word on the subject, but God’s Word gives specific commands women are called to obey (Genesis 2, Colossians 3, Ephesians 5, and Titus 2). When obeyed, these commands make our homes run smoothly. Wives are to be helpers, women who respect and submit to their husband’s leadership — and manage the home well, whether it’s children, pets, schedules, school projects, etc. Couples who look to fulfill these biblical roles will find a way to help their homes run efficiently because the husband is setting the course, the wife is reinforcing and arranging things to follow the path, and children get to see what a godly couple looks like.
As parents, Sunday school teachers, pastors, coaches and people of influence in the lives of the next generation, we have to take this job seriously. Our kids are being sent messages about their identity everywhere they look. We have to help train them to live with the gender God has given them, despite what culture may be telling them. That may mean a girl who likes hunting or playing football, or a guy who enjoys decorating—our interests do not define us. Our godliness and obedience to God’s Word should.