I read a story on parenting a few years ago. It was eye opening to say the least.
A mom and a dad wanted to start a family. They wanted to raise their child in a better way than they had experienced. The parents wanted to raise their child to have better choices free from social norms that they considered harmful in our world. This all sounded fine and dandy until I read their plan.
You see, they believe that society imposes certain gender norms on people. And these norms make us who we are. Biology has nothing to do with it. Boys are wrapped in blue blankets and girls are wrapped in pink blankets at the hospital. We are all hapless victims of circumstance and society after that. Boys play with toy guns and girls play with dolls. This forms us. Boys take wood shop in school while girls take home economics. This determines who you are. All of these social constructs are then forced down on the individual child and that is what makes us a guy or a gal. We become products of our environment and mirror the social norms around us.
The couple has a child and launch out on their parenting plan. From this point on, the story reads more like a strange sociology experiment. They give their child a gender neutral name. They dress their child in neutral clothes, so that it could decide if it wanted to be a boy or girl. They give their child a neutral haircut or hair style, so that it can have the freedom to choose its own gender. You see the parents are just waiting for the child to tell the parents how it wants to be raised, known, and identified. Will the child play with boys or girls on the playground at school? They will stay out of the way until the individual child makes a decision.
This libertine parenting method struck me as very odd. Why would these parents purposefully keep truth from their own child? If there is no truth from mom and dad, what kind of life will this kid endure? What other choices are they leaving up to their child? Why wouldn’t they try to help, protect, and actually raise their kid?
A laissez-faire approach to life can only get you so far without dramatic consequences. I am personally grateful that my parents taught me that fire is hot, some snakes are poisonous, and to come in from the rain. That sounds ridiculous, but so is laissez-faire parenting. Perhaps it is best to share the truth with those that we love. Living in the example of Jesus, wouldn’t that be a better way?
Part of that truth is that we are made in the image of God. Psalm 139:14 declares, “I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made . . . .” Each life is a wonderful masterpiece made by our Creator, the Living God. God does not make garbage. While people may question who they are or why they are here, they always bear the fingerprint of the Master.
God made us male and female. Pointing to Genesis 1:27 is not bigotry, but science. Our DNA is unique from our parents. Gender is determined immediately upon fertilization or when life begins. The 23rd pair of chromosomes will establish the sex of a baby. Biology, not feelings or childhood toys, determines our gender.
We are all called to honor God with our body. This means living in purity. This is accomplished by upholding fidelity in marriage and upholding chastity outside of marriage. We need to be aware of potential temptations and be transparent with those who hold us accountable. This is also where parents need to speak truth to their children. A laissez-faire parenting plan in this arena is reckless and harmful. Teach your kids what is right, don’t ignore the truth. Scripture calls us to “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” and to be “transformed by the renewing of your minds” Romans 12:1-2. Heaven help us all to live by this standard.
As the bathroom wars of 2016 go on, let us remember to speak the truth to those we love. Let us also remember that parenting is a ministry of the heart that deserves our very best and sharing what we know is never the wrong answer.