Affirming Your Child’s Gender

AffirmGenderThe night before the first day of school, my brother-in-law asked my 6 year old niece if she needed help selecting an outfit for said first day of school. Like only a bright-eyed, energetic little girl can do, she didn’t miss a beat as she responded “Dad! I’ve had it planned out since July!” My brother-in-law is a wise man. He smiled quietly and instead proceeded to help her put her hair in curlers in preparation of the big day on the horizon.

I share this story because it is an excellent example of a father affirming his daughter’s desire to be a girl. It’s no surprise that girls like to look nice – especially on the first day of school. There’s nothing wrong with this as long as it doesn’t go to extremes.

Contrast this example to my nine year old nephew, who didn’t so much as want a new pair of blue jeans for the start of school. He probably hasn’t given much thought to what he’ll wear in the morning, much less been planning it out for weeks. What he wanted instead was to camp overnight in the back yard with his best friends a few nights before school started. His request was granted, and my brother-in-law patiently walked the boys through how to set up the tent and “make camp”. My sister and brother-in-law found themselves getting little sleep as they quieted excited boys long into the night and helped them shuffle inside in the early morning after getting frightened.

Both are good examples of encouraging kids to be as God made them – male or female. There are a lot of messages in our culture right now trying to tell children they should be confused about their gender. That it’s right to question whether they feel like being a boy or a girl. That if you want to do “typical girl things” or “typical boy things” you are silly and predictable. Or, on the other (and far more deceitful) hand, that if you are male and don’t want to camp in the back yard, there is something wrong about you and probably means you have homosexual tendencies. So it’s best to go ahead and embrace this “fact” about yourself while you’re young. Either way, kids are being pushed to question the sex God made them to be.

Whether you have an all-girl girl or a tomboy, you can affirm your daughter’s feminine qualities. Maybe your tomboy doesn’t fret over what she’s going to wear the first day of school, but does fret over the injured bird she has found and is trying to nurse back to health. You could compliment her on her nurturing skills in this situation. (You could also mention that she looks beautiful with her hair pulled back.)

Maybe you have a boy who’s more inclined toward the arts than things like wrestling or camping. You could compliment him on his initiative to teach himself how to draw. Or on his desire to keep going with his studies even when the other kids at school tease him for not being good at football. It takes a lot of courage to go against the crowd.

The point is God is all about diversity. There are many expressions of male and female-ness, just as there are many expressions of skin color. Yet we are all made in God’s image, and even in this great diversity He has shown us, there are common themes. The same rings true with sex.

I encourage you to find ways to affirm your child’s gender – especially as school starts and they are in unfamiliar situations. The affirming you do at home will carry with them through the school day.

– Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.

Back to School + Sex Ed

Blog_BackToSchool
The start of a new school year gets a lot of us thinking about what our kids need for the coming year. Since I homeschool my kids, I think about curriculum, books, and review. Hopefully my kids remember everything they learned in the last school year. You know, typical school things. But since I am also the founder of a ministry that helps parents talk to their children about healthy sexuality, another thought crosses my mind: what do I need to cover with them about sex? And do they remember what we learned about last year?

With so many details to think about with the start of a new school year, it can be hard to remember sex education. Whether our children are receiving their sex education solely at home or if they are also receiving it at school, Mom and Dad have a big role to play here. I am convinced the responsibility of communicating God’s design for love, sex, and marriage falls mainly to parents and the lessons they give their children, both implicitly (by their observable actions) and explicitly (by what they instruct their children).

Unfortunately, many of us well-meaning parents abdicate our God-given role to the school or to the church, or (rather unknowingly) to Google. Trust me, I know what that’s like! Even though I run a ministry that focuses on this very topic, I have experience getting caught up with all the other details of life only to realize that my kids need ME to answer their questions and proactively teach them the truth about sex and sexuality.

Can I encourage you, Mom and Dad, to think about each one of your children and the stage they are in right now and consider what they need to know about sex, relationships, and the peer pressure they will be facing this year? I know this exercise may seem intimidating, but I promise you if you approach it with the help of the Holy Spirit, it won’t be as daunting as you think. One thing that has really helped me with this task is to take a look at Against the Tide, which is a grade-by-grade guide we’ve put together that gives resource suggestions for talking to your children about sex and character.

It might surprise you, but these guides start in preschool. The reason is there are a lot of foundational messages you can teach your young children about the way God designed our bodies and how He intended families to work that will really help them as they are trying to get the whole picture about sex at an older age. Especially if you have children in what I like to call the “intensive time” of 8-12 years old, I encourage you to check out this guide and seriously consider what lessons you need to cover with them this year.

A phrase I often think of when I talk to parents about putting a sex-ed plan in place with their kids is: “fail to plan, plan to fail”. This phrase can be painfully accurate. We may have the best intentions, but when it comes to actually doing them, we need to make a plan to see them through. Sometimes it helps me to set goals like this: “by the end of November, I need to have gotten through The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made with my youngest child.” I write these goals down on my calendar, because they are important! If I don’t make a goal, I re-schedule it and try, try again.

I pray the Lord gives you wisdom and the strength to tackle this task. May He bless your efforts to guide your children toward healthy sexuality.

Julie Hiramine

Julie Hiramine is a mom, author, and the founder and executive director of the ministry Generations of Virtue. As an internationally noted speaker, she has ministered in many nations to thousands of parents, teens, and young people. Julie believes the key to turning the tide of an immoral culture is to equip parents to empower their children to be pure.

Electrical Tape and Answered Prayer

electrical_tape
Even in the small things God is faithful.

Monday morning started off as most Mondays typically do (mine include coffee and some time with the Bible). I had to rush off to a meeting that day, though, and barely had time to choke down my coffee before leaving. As I stepped on to the bus, it came through. A whatsapp message from a friend who was writing to tell me she wanted to support GOV financially through a monthly donation.

A smile slowly broke across my face as I realized this friend was our first committed monthly international donor for a project we are calling 100squared.

In May, Julie was in Israel and during her prayer time one morning, God impressed upon her to ask 100 people to partner with Generations of Virtue and give $100 a month. This is to support GOV as we transition our operations from being funded on a speaking honorarium and book sales basis to developing partners with our ministry vision. Our team feels the Lord leading and opening doors to transition from being based primarily in the U.S. to ministering in all regions throughout the world. God has developed this international focus over the past 5 years with an escalation in many amazing doors opening over the past year and a half especially. During this transition stage, we are looking for monthly support to help with basic ministry expenses as we are developing new sustainable income that has a global focus and giving partners around the world. There is a huge need for our team to spend some time developing curriculum and material to be able to meet the needs in the countries we are traveling to, but we have found our time very much taken up by the preparation for and execution of speaking events to cover basic ministry expenses. Additionally, members of the GOV team have always served as full-time volunteers, using our free time to take on odd jobs to support ourselves. This also needs to change as finding odd jobs overseas is slightly more complicated than what we are able to do Stateside.

The meeting I was headed to held another surprise. As I shared with this friend about our 100squared campaign, she also committed to donate. I sat amazed as she related a story about a property she had been trying to rent for several months and only just recently found a renter. She felt the Lord prompting her to tithe the income from the rent to GOV. Two donors in one day. And we hadn’t even publicly announced the 100squared campaign.

Leaving that meeting, on the way to a second for that day, another whatsapp message came through. This from a friend who had volunteered to help with the translation of a children’s book into Thai. Not only was her service in this area an answer to prayer, but she also wanted to help pay for the cost of translating another resource we want to give away in Thailand to parents and caregivers. The cost of which I had not mentioned to her. Only prayed the Lord would provide the finances necessary for the project. Could this day get any better?

As I met up with two other GOV team members after the second meeting of the day and relayed to them the miraculous provision I’d witnessed, the final blessing came. One only God – with His good humor and generous nature – could do. Earlier that day, I had expressed I was in need of electrical tape to fix my phone’s charging cord. It was frayed and the wiring was exposed. “I need to get some electrical tape” I had said, holding up the frayed cord. As Courtney, Sara and I made our way to the bus stop (in transit to meeting number three), there in the grass was a roll of electrical tape. I almost missed it on the first pass, but Courtney saw it and pointed it out. “There you go, Meg – there’s your electrical tape”.

I smiled. “Thank you, Lord.”

God is undeniably providing for us as we are in this transition phase. It’s been a very challenging season for us – both as a ministry and as individuals. But it’s also been very faith-building, and we are excited to co-labor with the Lord in new ministry ventures. Like all hard things the Lord has us go through, He always has a reason for it and that reason is often tied to our betterment.

Would you join us as we ask for monthly donors? Would you consider praying for us and asking the Lord to prompt the people He wants to give to give? Finally, would you like to be 1 of the 100?

– Megan Briggs

Megan joined the Generations of Virtue team to become the Product Manager, a position which keeps her busy researching, reading resources, managing inventory and speaking to young people.