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.

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Top GOV Books for Summer Reading

summerreading
Summer is a great time to catch up on some reading. Here at GOV, we read a lot. And the good news is, there is a lot of excellent content out there! On the other hand, there is also a lot of not-so-excellent content. Which is why we go to great lengths to make sure all the books we recommend are good ones. Below you’ll find our top summer reading picks to help get you and your children off to a good start come school season.

Parents

Raising Body-Confident Daughters – Moms of daughters 6-14 will find Dannah Gresh’s new book incredibly helpful as they learn practical steps to help their daughters navigate our “thin is in” culture.

Secure Daughters, Confident Sons – In light of all the hype over homosexual marriage in the press lately, this book is a great help to parents seeking to affirm their children in their God-given sexuality.

Be the Dad She Needs You to Be – Dr. Kevin Lehman’s book for dads of daughters is full of humor, practical advice, and the gleanings of years of experience. Not only does it give dad a shot of encouragement, all the stories Dr. Lehman shares were so entertaining, I could hardly put it down!

Raising Boys by Design – Using science behind boys’ brain and social development as well as spiritual wisdom, this book is the collaboration of two respected experts on the topic of raising healthy boys.

Entering Elementary/Primary

My Princesses Learn to Be Brave – Using a lesson from the book of Esther, this story follows two girls who are being bullied by a boy on the playground. It’s a great story to teach your daughter how to be brave and respond to a bully in a positive way.

Warrior Prince for God – Luke isn’t as good at sports as other kids are, and sometimes they tease him because of it. But when Luke learns he can be a warrior in God’s Kingdom, he finds the true meaning behind strength and courage.

The Wonderful Way Babies Are Made – With text for younger kids (ages 3-8) and older kids (8-10), this beautifully illustrated book explains how God designed a husband and wife to have a baby. Using age-appropriate information, the book communicates the beauty and majesty of God’s creation, including a special section on adoption.

Entering Middle School/Upper Primary

It’s Great to Be a Girl – Learning about your changing body and growing up are tough subjects to talk about. But this book makes it fun and encouraging.

Passport 2 Purity – This weekend retreat for moms and daughters or fathers and sons is an excellent way to explain God’s design for sex, relationships, puberty, and purity presented in a way that is appropriate for pre-teens. Plus, it’s a lot of fun!

Heroes of the Bible Devotional – A 90-day devotional highlighting men and women from the Bible who lived heroic lives. Boys and girls alike are inspired to live heroically in their daily lives.

Entering High School/Secondary

Free to Be Me – Girls are under so much pressure to fit in and do all the right things. But who defines what is right? Instead of looking to peers or the media to find yourself, why not look to the one who created you?

A Young Man’s Guide to Discovering His BibleJim George has a gift for inspiring young people to not just open their Bibles, but understand scripture. The wisdom Jim has gleaned from years of Bible study and teaching have been boiled down to a devotional for teen boys that is simple and encouraging.

Going off to University/Entering the Work Force

What Are You Waiting For? – Despite what Hollywood would have you believe, sex is not simply a physical act. By God’s good design, it is so much more than that. Written for young women living in a “casual sex is no big deal” culture, this book unpacks the deeper, Biblical meaning behind sex and brings in biological research to help explain the very good reasons behind waiting for marriage.

Killing Lions – Navigating the transition from boyhood to manhood can be rough. All the choices needing to be made about finances, romance, and career can seem like lions on the prowl. This book is adapted from phone calls between a loving father and a son working through some major life decisions.

– 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.

The Supreme Court Ruling: 3 Ways Parents Can Respond

KeepCalm-1If you’ve seen any of the articles online about the Supreme Court ruling in favor of same-sex marriage, you’ve probably sensed the issue is emotionally charged. People are so happy. And others are so mad. This is a critical time for the church and for Christian parents. What should we do in light of this ruling? Things are getting confusing. We’ve put our heads together at Generations of Virtue to give 3 ways parents can respond and help their children navigate this confusing time.

1. Talk to your kids about homosexuality. If you haven’t explained homosexuality to your children and they are at an age where they are starting to key into all the hype in the media (and possibly among their peer groups), now is the time. This is your opportunity to communicate what God’s word says about homosexuality. Our kids need to hear the truth from God’s word about this lifestyle. Some key verses to start with include Leviticus 18:22, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28. Another point you might consider making with your children is that even though the Supreme Court made the choice to legalize gay marriage, it does not mean that this was the right choice. It’s an unfortunate truth we have to share with our children, but governments and rulers don’t always make the right choices (shocking, I know). Finally, tell your children the truth about the differences between men and women and why God designed a family to be a man, a woman, and children. (I’ll list some resources below to help with this discussion). It helps children to know this truth from a young age given all the press in our media trying to convince them of the virtues of alternative lifestyles.

2. Show your children how to show the love of Christ to gay people. We should take a lot of comfort in the fact that it’s not our job to judge people. When I was in university, I took a job where my immediate superior was another student who identified himself as a homosexual. I asked the Lord how I should interact with my new boss. He told me to be his friend and to respect the authority of his position. I did that. I became his friend and we got along wonderfully. The truth was, he was really good at his job, and it was easy to follow his lead because he was doing a great job. I don’t think we should be afraid of befriending homosexuals or teaching our children how to befriend them in healthy and beneficial ways. It’s true that we need to approach friendships carefully (whether they be with homosexuals or heterosexuals) and who we allow to spend time (especially time alone) with our kids. This is a topic for spouses to discuss. But please don’t let fear steal a chance to show a homosexual Christ’s love. The truth is, homosexuals are hurting people who need the truth of the Gospel. They are living a lifestyle of sexual immorality – the consequences of which are devastating. At the same time, I know many heterosexual Christians who are living in a similar state of sexual immorality. And as the church we embrace them.

3. Don’t be intimidated. Like I mentioned earlier, there is a lot of emotional hype in the media right now concerning this decision. Don’t let it take you for a ride. Keep calm and parent on. The truth is, God is on His throne and He still calls the shots. A couple months ago I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Michael Brown speak in Singapore. He had a great insight about the LGBT agenda in the U.S. As a way of paraphrase, he said we shouldn’t fear the separation that will come between the people who interpret the scripture (about homosexuality) through the lens of culture and those who will follow God’s word in spirit and in truth. There is some separation happening in the church right now. Which side do you want your family to end up on? Finally, don’t let the enemy intimidate you by the Supreme Court’s decision. Instead of responding in fear, take this opportunity to ask the Lord how to respond. And finally, speak to your children. Help them to know the truth of God’s word and what He has to say about homosexuality. Let them know the truth and let the truth set them free from all the confusion encapsulating this issue. To quote Rick Warren, “truth, is still truth, no matter how many people doubt it. I may deny the law of gravity, but it doesn’t change gravity. And just because we break God’s laws, does not invalidate them.” Don’t be afraid to share the truth with your kids. Kingdoms will fall and rulings will be forgotten, but the word of God will stand.

One final thought: be prayerful as you address this issue with your children. Ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and answers. Ask Him how your family should respond to this ruling.

Below I’ve listed some articles and books I’ve found really helpful in discussing the issue of homosexuality in light of our current culture. I hope you find them helpful!

Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage by Sean McDowell and John Stonestreet
God’s Design for Sex Series by Stan and Brenna Jones (Book 3 – What’s the Big Deal – has a chapter specifically about homosexuality)
Focus on the Family’s How to Talk to Your Kids about Homosexuality
Interview with John Stonestreet webinar by Generations of Virtue
Short video with Dr. Michael Brown explaining the context of the Levitical scriptures

– 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.