I recently ran across Time magazine’s 10 Ideas That Make a Difference. One of them was gender-neutral toys. What’s that? Ask all of you who grew up in the unenlightened 20th century. It’s Easy-Bake ovens that come in blue hues and G.I. Joe soliders with pink tops.
It was heralded as an idea that has finally come of age. No longer will boys be bound to building blocks and toy trucks. They can now explore their more feminine side. While girls can now feel free to “man up” and play like a boy. I get it (partially).
I have daughters that like to do things that aren’t stereotypical girly. For example, they both like to hunt. So I appreciate Bear Archery adding a pink color line to their compound bows. I gave one to my 10-year-old for Christmas. But I’m sorry. I ain’t allowing my boy to play dress up in girl’s clothes. Call me backwards. Call me old-fashioned. Or just call me a man.
There’s a reason gender stereotypes arose in the first place. It’s because boys and girls are wired differently. I know that’s not a politically correct thing to say but it’s true. They like different things. They naturally gravitate towards different activities. They have different instincts. We used to recognize that as normal before people started making us feel bad about being normal.
The point is I want my boy to grow up to be man. And I want my girls to grow up to be women. I want them to realize that God has given each gender natural gifts and abilities. They don’t have to be ashamed of that. I even want them to be proud of their gender (that sounds weird to say but I guess it’s necessary in a society that encourages kids to “choose” their own gender).
This whole nonsense that we shouldn’t push gender stereotypes is exactly that. Nonsense. Boys need to learn how to be boys. Girls need to learn how to be girls. No, that doesn’t mean that girls can’t be doctors or boys can’t be nurses. Nor does it mean that boys mow the yard and girls wash the dishes. I’m talking about things much broader than career choices and household chores.
I’m talking about the idea that it’s OK to teach boys how to be men. Teach them how to give a firm handshake, build a fire, gut a deer and open the door for a lady. Teach them to respect women, value hard work, keep their word and learn what it means to be a good provider and protector. And its OK to teach girls how to be women (although I’ll forgo the examples here because I’m probably in enough trouble as it is).
The point is simply this… God gave each of us certain roles and responsibilities. Don’t shy away from them simply because it’s no longer culturally popular. Be a man. Be a woman. And teach your kids to do the same.