By: Rich Harding
One of Noah’s (my eldest) favorite phrases at the moment is “Cannon Ball” after which he promptly launches himself upon me knees first. He then proceeds jumping on me in an attempt to squash me. Nathan, our youngest thinks this is hilarious and joins in the fun rolling on top of me, a squashing frenzy that sometimes last up to 20 mins! After we calm down I’m left lying there thinking, “I wonder how my life would be different if I had girls instead!”
This week we found out that we are having a girl! We are so excited, but it also got me thinking, wow how is this going to be different. So many people have said to me, “Get ready, you’re in for a surprise, girls are so different from boys!!”
Despite people obviously knowing these differences between boys and girls, the agenda of a militant liberal media, has fueled a trend of generalizing genders across the world, of trying to mix boys and girls together in a gross misunderstanding of God’s original design. Even as I was writing this I was presented with a horrific video by the British Broadcasting Corporation, where they conducted a ‘supposed’ scientific experiment on small children around 8 to 10 months. They dressed a boy up as a girl and vice versa, and had some caregivers who were unaware of their different genders to see how they treated them. The ‘experiment’ to me was completely unfounded in truth, focusing solely on external treatment of children based on perceptions, with zero actual scientific study on the children themselves and what they are like. The video finished with a disgusting hashtag at the end which I have no desire to write and give it ad space on the internet!
The Christian Doctor, James Dobson, who has study and written extensively on this topic, continuously maintains clear scientific evidence for the difference between boys and girls and holds that we should never try and take the feminists approach which seeks to remove the distinction (James Dobson, Bringing Up Boys, (Tyndale Momentum: 2001), Chapter 3). The truth is boys and girls are very different and should be treated differently, because their needs differ. If we try and mix and match our parenting we will end up with children who are very confused and with great emotional voids in their lives.
But science aside, the key to understanding starts with the Bible and what it says about the creation of mankind:
"God created man (mankind) in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” Genesis
The three words used here in the Hebrew “Man” (Ha Adam - The Man, or Mankind), “male” (zacar) and “female” (neqebah). These three words give a very distinct picture of God’s creation. God created Mankind (Ha Adam) in His own image. As a whole we are like God in image and likeness. But there are two very separate parts to this whole, male (zacar) and female (neqebah). We are together in the image and likeness of God, both male and female, but we are separate parts. We both contain parts of God’s image and likeness. One is not more important, or better than the other, in the same way that God is whole and there is not one part of Him better than the other. But WE ARE DIFFERENT! You cannot bring up boys and girls the same way.
"But my daughter loves to jump around and run as much as most boys!” I hear you say. I am not talking just about what boys and girls like to do but rather who they are inside and the way God made them. It is key to understanding of their need as children. Meet their need through love and you will provide the best environment to develop and form your children.
Girls need love and affirmation for them and who they are, unconditional, without limits and without questions. They need to know they are accepted, that they are beautiful and that they are never alone. They draw their identity from the words we sow into them as parents. Boys need someone there for them, to play with them and to make them feel important. They will reach an age which is critical for their development as a boy and then a man, between the ages of 4 and 6. My son Noah is entering into this stage, he is constantly seeking that affirmation, “I’m pretty fast dad, right?”, “I’m strong too dad, right?” I never had to teach him to think like this, he’s a boy and that’s the way God made him. He’s looking for someone to say just that: “Noah you’re a boy! Your strong and fast and all the other things little boys want to be and prove themselves in.”
No one can replace the parental influence at this stage in life. It’s so important we see our kids for who they are and how God made them. If they’re a girl treat them as such, if they are a boy treat them as such. If your not sure how, there are some great books and resources out there that can help you. Start with Dr. James Dobson’s bringing up boys, or bringing up girls. There’s a wealth of helpful guidance to raising respective kids that is based on the Bible and true to how God has made us. My encouragement to you is don’t just try to make it up as you go along, but really study what the Word says, using helpful guides so that you get a good godly view of parenting. Oh and NEVER take what the media and the internet say at face value!