The kids on the street assembled for a pick-up game. “Captains” were chosen and the team selection began. Of course the most athletic and coordinated from the crowd went first. Then came an interesting statement, “Don’t pick her. She’s just a girl.”
How very interesting. Why not say, “She’s not good at this game.” Or, “She’s not very coordinated?” While the opportunities for skill development for girls have increased, boys can easily equate gender with competence.
Having two daughters, I appreciate the effort made at T Bar M Camps for all kids to grow in coordination, self-confidence, and courage. What can we do, as parents, to help our children grow up with respect toward the opposite gender? Take a moment to read Galatians 3:26-29.
Emphasize gender equality regarding salvation –Paul seeks to clarify that we all stand before the cross on equal footing, and in equal need of a savior. Both genders are saved by grace through faith in Christ alone. When you pray as a family, ask your kids to name both girls and boys who you can pray for together. This is a simple way of teaching your children that all of their peers are on a spiritual journey toward Jesus.
Allow equal opportunity – Our culture continues to assume that girls and boys will play with different toys, and there is nothing wrong with that. Boys and girls are – by God’s design – different from each other. However, boys should have equal opportunity to develop skills including creativity, art, language, or music, as they express interest in doing so. Likewise, girls should be encouraged to develop physical coordination and leadership skills, as they have interest in doing so.
Encourage respect – “Don’t pick her. She’s just a girl.” The simple message here is that a particular child shouldn’t be on a team, not because of ability but because her gender makes her less valuable. As Christ’s followers, this allows us an excellent parenting opportunity to go beyond encouraging our kids to be inclusive. We can help our kids understand that healthy competitors think less about the score, and more about how the game fosters sportsmanship and fun.
Did you see the recent video clip of the high school football team that allowed a boy to score a touchdown in his wheelchair? This was a beautiful example of sportsmanship, and the opposing team gave this boy what he could never earn otherwise – a newfound self-respect, something that both girls and boys should have the chance to enjoy.