In this episode, Dr. Gilbert addresses the responsibility we have to our children to address the critical issues of gender, homosexuality, and same-sex attraction from a biblical perspective with grace and compassion through micro-conversations.
Do you have a theology and framework — an understanding — that will allow you to share with your children the beauty and intricacies of masculinity, femininity, and gender?
Much of your children’s sexual ethic is established early on through observation of the world around them and personal experience. Be a source of intentional teaching and education for them.
I am not surprised by the gender questions that are filling the airwaves today. When most of us were growing up, some of these same questions were being asked by your peers or family who were beginning to buck traditional gender roles.
First off, I want to clearly state that the idea of two genders — and only two genders — is not a mistake. It is by God’s design. What you believe about that will shape how you lead your child. We are born male or female. A small number of people are born with ambiguous genitalia and this creates a lot of difficulty for their parents and the young person in knowing who they are. These families need incredible support and biblical counsel. The decisions to be made are also never simple.
Others are clearly born either male or female and this is determined in the womb. How this plays out individually is a different story. How you personally relate to your masculinity or femininity matters. But even more important in our psyche is how we relate to the image of who we think we are supposed to be.
My personal development was filled with angst, confusion, frustration, and questions — with no answers. This led to disturbing self-beliefs and even hatred, and this is not uncommon. No one knew that I was struggling — I told no one. I’ve learned that as parents we need to engage in these conversations with our sons and daughters because they most likely will not bring it up on their own.
Our children need to know it is okay to process ideas they have heard elsewhere. You need to be a safe place for this to occur, or secure a safe place for them to ask these questions in a healthy biblical community, with a Christian counselor, or even a trusted mentor. Don’t do this alone, but remember that you are the one on the front lines with your children.
Where do these conversations start? With you. Do not wait for them to ask. Do not wait for them to bring it up.
Engage daily in micro-conversations that draw them to a healthy self-awareness, identity, and a biblical sexual ethic.
For many, when they think of masculinity, their experience leads them to associate it with negative stereotypes of foolishness or aggression. And it is right to challenge these stereotypes and their damaging expression in our sons.
What are your son and daughter being taught about masculinity in your home?
What can you do to intentionally teach your sons and daughters about masculinity?
The first thing we should do is teach them about pornography — its allure and danger. This is NOT a one-time conversation — rather, it is a thousand micro-conversations that plant the seeds and thoughts of an intentional ETHOS in our sons’ minds. If we do not have these micro-conversations, someone else will, if they are not already.
Limit video game play and encourage and reward real-world engagement.
Make sure they are employed as soon as they are legally able. Teach and model a healthy work ethic.
Encourage dreams, passions, and interests that promote them getting outside of themselves and into the lives of others. Video games are often a selfish escape to avoid relationships with others.
Teach them an ETHOS of time management, relationship engagement, and investment in others.
Dads — we need to be engaged with our children. We are the leaders, whether we want to be or not. Be a positive example in how you talk to and treat your wife. If you are a single mom or a mother parenting with a disengaged husband, you need to intentionally seek out healthy male role models for your son to spend time with.
So much of our children’s future is dependent on our sons having a healthy, biblically sound understanding of masculinity. It is NOT aggressive, but can be assertive when it needs to be. It is NEVER domineering, but is a servant leader.
Spend some time in prayer and studying Scripture for yourself to see the characteristics of a man that the Lord boasts of and teach and model these characteristics to your children.
Have micro-conversationsoften about the sort of man you hope he will be, or the sort of man you would want your daughter to partner with for life.
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