Friday afternoon was quite an eyebrow-raiser for Dad.
As I do often, I took my 5 year-old twins out to run errands, go to lunch and then (their favorite part) go to the park.
I live in a small town of about 8000 people.
Monett, Missouri is in SW Missouri (Conservative-Republican country) and we are so conservative that we still have Christian displays in our CITY PARK during the holidays.
Suffice it to say that transgender people are not very common here.
So when my daughter asked me, “Daddy is that a man or a woman?’, I really did not know what to say.
To begin with, I did not know.
Transgenders don’t grow on trees here, like they do in some places. (Private thought: Since they grow on trees, is that why they are called fruits?)
Sorry my mind tends to wander sometimes (4-time stroke victim).
Back to the subject at hand… 🙂
I am talking about a cashier at the local supermarket, by the way.
We were next in line and when I heard that question, I simply did not know how to answer.
So I, totally flustered, told her to hush and that we would talk about it later.
When I tried to bring it up at dinner on Friday Night, Mom didn’t want me to talk about it.
She told me that the girls are too young (she’s right) and that this conversation needed to wait for a later time.
I did, however, determine that this was a man trying to be/become a woman.
Before we left the store I saw a tattoo on the back of this person’s neck. This is not an actual photo but it was very similar to this:
I am assuming this tattoo is the standard symbol for either:
A- A pervert who is looking to get on the HS field hockey team and hoping to get some cheap locker room thrills, or more likely…
B- A kid who was born male and is trying to convince the world that HE is now a female.
There are a million answers for C, D, and beyond…
But I am going to assume that this was a young man who is trying to play the part of a young woman.
That is not important to me.
I am more worried about how I should have talked to my children.
We are a Christian family, so going Biblical is an obvious alternative:
Deuteronomy 22:5 ESV
“A woman shall not wear a man’s garment, nor shall a man put on a woman’s cloak, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord your God.”
The above quote is the #1 answer for “Transgender” at OpenBible.info
That is the answer that I would strongly have preferred to have given, because I am trying to raise my children with Christian values. It’s not their fault that their Daddy could not quote Deuteronomy.
Heck, I have a hard enough time spelling Deuteronomy.
But what if you are NOT a Bible-Quoting Christian and still against the obvious perversion happening in America?
Seek answers from trained psychologists?
That was my other thought.
I found another site that talks about the subject more from a psychological perspective.
It is still a Christian site, but offers answers in a more casual, less fire-and-brimstone, sort of way.
Responding to Children
When confusing events like this are broadcast throughout the culture, Focus on the Family is asked a lot of questions. And we know parents get asked questions, too:
- Daddy, why does that man want to be a lady?
- Mom, what does “transgender” mean?
- Can a boy turn into a girl?
- Mommy, I’m a girl; but will I ever change into a boy?
Transgenderism includes a wide variety of identities and behaviors and may also be called “gender dysphoria,” “gender confusion” or “gender identity disorder.” It’s tough enough for adults to understand this subject. So when our children encounter this confusing issue, what do we say? Most importantly, how do we help them develop a biblical, Christian perspective on this issue?
We want to help you navigate this topic, so here are some useful guidelines and suggestions for addressing transgender issues with your children:
Keep It Simple
Relax. As a parent, you are the authority in your child’s life; but you don’t have to be an expert on every issue – including this one. And even the “experts” really don’t understand all the complexities of this issue. A few years ago, a gay identified psychiatrist was asked about gender confusion and responded, “The truth is we actually don’t know what it is. Is it a mental disorder or does the cause of gender dysphoria lie somewhere else?”1
So don’t think you have to understand everything about transgenderism or tell your children everything you know. Here are a few simple truths to communicate:
- God made humans male and female.
- Individuals are born either male or female.
- Some people get hurt and confused, and they don’t like the way God made them.
- As a result, some people wish they were the opposite sex.
- Nobody can really change from one sex to the other.
Keep It a Dialogue
When children ask questions, use the occasion to connect with them. Find out what they are learning, where they learned it and what they are thinking. Ask questions, such as:
- Where did you see that?
- Where did you hear that word?
- Why do you think God made both boys and girls?
- What do you think “transgender” means?
- Do you think a boy can really turn into a girl?
This isn’t an inquisition, but an opportunity to get to know your child better. So keep your tone conversational and friendly.
Older children and teens may have more questions, so we have a list of helpful resources at the end of this article. You might want to read some of these additional resources first, then read and discuss them with an older child.
Keep It Truthful
If you don’t know the answer to a child’s question, say so. Then tell your child you’ll look for an answer. Let’s say your son asks, “Why does he want to be a lady?” The real answer, if we’re honest, is “I don’t know.” None of us know all of the pain and false beliefs in the lives and hearts of persons who struggle with transgender issues.
Nevertheless, Scripture is clear about certain things, and those truths are what you can communicate to your children:
- God made us in His image – male and female.
(Genesis 1:27, 5:2; Matthew 19:4; Mark 10:6. ESV)
- Sin entered the world and spoiled everything, including how we see ourselves.
(Matthew 15:19; Romans 3:23, 5:12-13. ESV)
- Some people get really hurt and confused as they grow up.
(Romans 1:19-31; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. ESV)
- God loves us and sent us Son to save us.
(John 1:1-14, 29; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 2:2. ESV)
- God can bring healing and truth to those who are hurt.
(2 Chronicles 7:14; Romans 6:6; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 2:24. ESV)
###Above Excerpt from Focusonthefamily.com###
There we go with the scripture passages again.
Do you think my 5-year-old twins will understand those Biblical quotes?
They might understand it somewhat, but Dad is just looking for something he can pull out even when he can’t remember what Deuteronomy 22:5 says.
So I appreciate the plain talk answers they suggest, but doubt I’ll be quoting Deuteronomy to them for a few more years.
You need to start thinking about this subject and how you will approach it with your children.
Why? Because if it can happen to me here, in Monett MO, it can happen to any of you.
The difference in a kid who grows up a crazed-leftist and one who stays a respectful conservative-Christian, is often in their parents.
So let’s keep trying to be the best Moms and Dads we can possibly be and learn from our failures.
All I know is the next time I go to that store I’m bringing a can of mace. (sorry bad joke)
We fail our kids and we learn from our failures, but good parents figure out how to do better the next time.