As a Christian dad, it’s my calling to raise my children in a manner that is consistent with divine and empirical truth. Anything less and I’m compromising one of my greatest objectives in life–to raise my sons and daughters to be godly men and women. Here are 3 truths that I’ve done my best to live by and instill into the hearts and minds of my children.
1. There are absolutes in life–and God is the ultimate truth. To think there aren’t absolutes is to deny the evidence that is clearly presented before us through generations of scientific data. Both God’s word and the preponderance of evidence speak to the fact that we, as humans, are purposed to be created male and female (Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.”) It has been this way since the beginning of time and is an undeniable reality of life. Basic biology, human genetics and most significantly God’s word clearly delineate the veracity of this absolute. Our children must know that God’s plan for the family includes one man and one woman that, if possible, will likely involve the offspring of children–boys and/or girls.
Yet, at the same time we lift up truth, we must equally embrace grace for those that may take a different position than us. One of our greatest testimonies to a lost world is the way we treat others–especially when they are hostile toward our beliefs. This doesn’t mean we don’t stand up for truth and protect our children’s welfare. Rather, it means we do it in a way that expresses our love for the people while not condoning the sin. Paul stated it well–the words we speak are to always be gracious (Colossians 4:6).
2. Boys and girls are different–both in form and function. While there is total equality between the sexes in value before God and man, each sex was designed with unique qualities and capacities. This doesn’t negate the inherent value within each sex. Rather, it uplifts the strengths and gifts of each gender. Throughout all of creation we can plainly see complementary relationships that afford stability, propagation, and generational unity. No where is this more visible than within the historical blueprint of the family. Without question, children thrive best in a family where stability and order are the norm. To attempt to alter the reality of these relationships has and will only lead to further confusion and chaos.
As dads and moms, we shouldn’t treat our boys and girls as “gender-less” beings. God made them male and female. Our job is to cultivate the uniqueness of the individual within their God-given sex and do our best to celebrate both the sex of the child and the special gifts and strengths that each one has. Practically, our dads must mentor our sons to prepare them for manhood. Foremost this means living a godly life before them and teaching them what it means to be a man (see What Makes A Man Great). Equally important, our moms must mentor our daughters as they develop into young ladies. In the case of single moms, it is crucial for the mom to find assistance from trusted men that can help build into the lives of their sons. The same would hold true for the single dads with daughters.
3. We need to always communicate love and support to our children when they face doubts or confusion around who they are. Most, if not all of us, have had questions regarding who we are and our life purpose. It’s during these times, we must point our children to God and encourage them find their greatest value and life mission in and through a relationship with Jesus Christ. As a dad, both my sons and daughters need to know they are loved and valued because they were created in God’s image. They need to be reminded on a regular basis that they have a heavenly Father that created them as male and female for a divine purpose and plan. Regardless of the shifting morals of our culture, we must live and teach our children to hold fast to God’s truth and love them through the trials that they will face.
Given the pervasiveness of the cultural messaging around this topic, our children will naturally question themselves and others. Yet, as a father, this is my personal “for such a time as this” moment. To be “in” this world and not “of” this world will be a struggle. Our kids need to know that it’s okay to wrestle with things–we all do. What’s most important is that we can walk with them and point them to the truth.
This is why it’s vital for parents to be actively engaged within the lives of their children throughout every stage of their developing years. Our children are on a battlefield, and the enemy wants nothing more than to pull them away from the truth of their creative calling. They were fearfully and wonderfully made by God for a purpose and plan beyond themselves–part of God’s plan for their lives was to create them as a male or a female. As parents, we must relentlessly embrace this reality and do all we can to uplift our children and their God-given gender.
One last thought that I believe is critical during the heaviness of our days. Don’t forget to find joy and laughter as you pursue the missional calling as a parent. I can find myself overwhelmed at times with the busyness of life and the moral decline of our nation. Yet, it is essential that we make time to enjoy the blessing of our sons and daughters, and let them know, without question, the blessing they are to us.