Yesterday as I sat embroidering flowers on a winter jacket for Laurel, David asked me to sew some on his jacket. Horrors! But David loves all kinds of flowers, and has learned many of their names, so it’s logical that he would want some on his jacket. The occasion did start me thinking again about gender roles and my son’s personality.
Many of the traits we would consider masculine are ones I wouldn’t be sad to see in my daughter. I’d like her to have an opinion, be willing to stand up for what is right, take leadership when nobody is doing right. Maybe I’m not identifying the right masculine traits we see in the Bible, so I should try to consider what God says. I think it’s clear that God wants a distinction between genders (Deuteronomy 22:5); men and women have different roles defined biblically (Ephesians 5:22-33). Part of keeping these distinctions necessitates submitting to culturally-defined gender differences (a man would not wear the culturally defined clothing of a woman; in our culture, men don’t typically put embroidered flowers on their jackets).
Personality traits and interests are a little different, but we can see evidence in the Bible that can be helpful. King David in the Bible gives some helpful information. He was a protector and warrior, willing to kill to protect those in his charge, but he also loved beauty. If you look at the poetry and music that he wrote, you find many references to his awareness and appreciation of God’s creation. Poetry and music aren’t typical present-day “guy” interests, but because I see them used in a mighty way in and as Scripture, I’m not afraid of encouraging them, even if they seem to contradict our society’s concept of masculine. The fruit of the spirit sometimes reflects traits not considered masculine, either: gentleness, meekness, and so on. Obviously, then, it is biblical and right to encourage gentleness and kindness, it is acceptable to encourage an appreciation of the arts, insomuch as they reflect the glory of God. But I’m still feeling as though I’m missing the “masculine” side.
Perhaps it’s allowing room to push the limits physically, to compete, to protect, to lead. Maybe that’s why every boy needs a dog or vinegaroon to take care of at some point. Maybe it’s not that these opportunities should be absent for my girls, but I should give a different emphasis to reflect the different priorities of traits they need as wives and mothers. Maybe developing masculinity (and femininity) is about encouraging that which would be most helpful to appreciate and fulfill God’s defined gender roles for our children.
Still thinking on this.
Shelley Gallamore says
One of my sons used to beg to have his fingernails painted when I would paint the girls. I would usually end up painting his toenails as a compromise. It made my husband a little nervous, but he was okay with it. Now that same boy has grown into the most masculine of kids…totally into all the appropriate boy things like balls, wrestling and dirt!
I hope you don’t threaten him with making his early interest in nail polish public, eh?? 🙂
Seriously, what if he didn’t end up liking balls, wrestling, and dirt? What then? Is it the sports, wrestling, and dirt that satisfy you that he’s developing masculine qualities that honor God? Or is it something more?
Shelley Gallamore says
No, actually I agree that there is a lot more to being a man than the outer layer. And yet, I see us (moms) often feminizing our boys inwardly to make them easier to parent- and being really careful to keep the outward looking right. (no nail polish) I am currently researching a series that I am going to teach for out mom’s group called “Pink or Blue – does it matter” and I truly am not sure what God is going to show me regarding raising boys. It is really the desire of my heart to challenge my boys to be Godly men. I will try to blog about some of what I learn…
Oh, and he is still totally flamboyant! He loves to wear pink shirts, has hair to his shoulders and constantly begs to wear my jewelry. I think it is part of who God made him to be…he has been like that from day 1.
I think we’re on the same page (although honestly I would balk at the hair and jewelry!). I’m eager to see what you write. I’m rather amused at myself, since I never considered this part of my understanding to be deficient before. I guess that’s part of seeing your immature theories proved and tried in your children.
I think my mom has done something on this. I’ll have to ask her to send me what she’s done.
Shelley Gallamore says
I would love to read what your mom has done…let me know where to find it if she has something. I am always looking for great resources.
I just had her send something that I think is on topic. I’ll email it to you when I get it. I’d be interested in any other resources you find, too.