Boys to Men

These days, it seems to be the cultural norm to raise girls up and put boys down.

For example, while shopping online at a very popular children’s clothing retailer this week, I noticed a  subtle difference in the message tees for girls and boys. While shirts for both genders displayed positive, fun messages, the girls’ tees proclaimed a variety of phrases based upon the theme “girl power.” As you may imagine, not a single boy’s t-shirt said “boy power.” While some of the girls’ shirts glittered with words enforcing the idea, “I can do anything you can do better,” none of the boys’ shirts in any way stated that boys were as good as or better than girls.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for girls learning to be strong and independent. We have taught our daughter to check the oil and mow the yard. She loves to careen down our wooded trails on our go-kart even more than her brothers do. But she also knows how to cook, clean, and manage a budget. And we are teaching our boys the same things. Our oldest son makes some mean scrambled eggs and toast, and he can run the washer and dryer. He also mows the yard and changes the oil with his dad. Regardless of their gender, my husband and I want our kids to be knowledgeable and well-rounded, able to step out into the world with confidence and independence when that time comes.

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Yet, we also see natural, God-instilled differences between our kids. My daughter describes her personal style as “boho.” She can go on at length about accessories and shoes, and she could give a report on the pros and cons of flat-ironed versus wavy hair. If you asked my sons to describe their style, they would say…nothing.

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Scripture reveals these differences when we study the many heroes and heroines upon its pages. Among many worthy male role models are their female counterparts, including courageous Queen Esther, Jael the general-killer, and Deborah the prophetess (both Jael and Deborah’s stories are in Judges 4), to name a few. These women used their natural femininity to fulfill the missions God gave them.

Then there’s the epic woman in Proverbs 31, who is not only a wife and mother praised by her family, but a businesswoman and philanthropist. But Scripture NEVER says that God made either sex better or more capable than the other. Does he lay out different roles for men and women? Yes! But only insomuch as he has created boys’ and girls’ brains and bodies to fulfill those roles.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.–Galatians 3:28

In that light, I really don’t care what the culture dictates my daughter and sons should be. I want all three of them to be godly, strong, and compassionate. You’ll never see my daughter wearing a “girls rule” t-shirt, unless it also says, “and boys rule, too!”

My husband and I are former professional photographers who gave up the business to spend more time with our kids, now our primary subjects.

 

6 thoughts on “Boys to Men”

    1. Aw, thanks so much for the words of encouragement! This post generated some good family discussion. The kids agree that when they head off into the world, they want to contribute to society and serve God based upon their merit and abilities, not their gender or anything else.

      Liked by 3 people

  1. When I think about how my grandmother had to have her son counter-sign her loan application just because he was a man – I think about how the message was always that “boys rule” long before the idea of “girl power” came to be. It didn’t need to be ironed on a t-shirt because it was the unspoken rule in all corners of society. I remember my aunts telling me that my grandfather forbade his sons from cleaning their own rooms, that was “women’s work” so they would be tasked with cleaning their brother’s rooms and their brothers never grew up learning how to cook or do laundry. Basically, the world is changing the definition of what it looks like for a boy to grow up into a man, from how it used to be in a society where men had power that women didn’t, and how it looks now in a society where women have the same power that men have – equally. Should boys be put down? No, but we do need to affirm girls, lest we slip back to that unspoken era where boys were just more special than girls. Style is one of those areas – like make-up which are still mainly a feminine pursuit – men who are interested in style are often shamed for it. But by the same token, men have to care about style in a put-together sense, they just have to make it seem like that they don’t. Girls get to put different names to their styles, men who do are considered ‘effeminate’ – too girly. That’s not to say that men don’t have style, a man in a suit might not feel that his outfit is complete without a particular watch as an accessory, he just can’t call it “the James Bond look” or anything because men aren’t supposed to be following somebody else’s trend, but setting them.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I could have written twice as much as I did on the topic–there are so many good, valid points to be made on what can be a sensitive issue.
      As I was writing the post, I kept veering off my main point in an attempt to cover all bases–but it became too much for one post and a bit rambling, so I edited out many paragraphs. My main point was to look at this issue from the general current cultural view, and that seems to be one of men being put down in the media, unfortunately. As well, I draw from my own personal experiences (such as that my boys have little interest in style), and I would never say it was wrong or unusual for a guy to enjoy fashion.
      I agree with your point that we should affirm girls–but I really try not to emphasize the gender issue in my own family. We all wash dishes, cook, etc. When God says that we should edify others, and raise up our children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, he doesn’t mention gender–so I don’t make a big deal out of it with my kids, either. To me, they are all God’s gifts, and put my heart and soul into raising them accordingly.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s such a great reminder in today’s society where we feel that one gender is naturally vetter than the other.

    This has been going on since Biblical Times but it has only worsened the gap between males and females. You are right that God have each gender specific roles, but that doesn’t mean that we should be condescending towards the opposite gender because of what we “believe” as the best gender.

    God created man and woman to be opposites, yes but to also be compatible to each other and fulfill roles the other gender can’t perform.

    Liked by 1 person

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