It doesn’t take children too long to figure out there is a difference between genders. For some reason, when those children become parents, they forget the difference altogether. The American approach to cookie-cutter parenting is unfortunately emasculating boys and making girls unhealthily dominant. The Bible speaks to the difference between men and women, and, as parents, we would be wise to remember that end goal in mind as we raise our children. We want boys to grow up to be godly men. We want girls to grow up to be godly women.
Differences in Roles. Men are called to be the head (Eph. 5:23); women are called to be the helper (Gen. 2:18). Both roles are important, but both roles are also very different. When Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, the uniqueness of God’s punishment speaks loudly concerning the differences in roles. God promised that women would have an ongoing struggle concerning who was in charge within the marriage relationship (Gen. 3:16). He cursed Adam with difficult labor due to the fact that he “listened to your wife’s voice and ate from the tree about which I commanded you” (Gen. 3:17). When Adam allowed Eve’s voice to resonate louder than God’s, trouble came. God had placed Adam as leader and given him instructions to live by. His passivity enabled the fall.
Differences in Traits. Men are called to lead (Eph. 5:22), they are called to sacrifice (Eph. 5:25), and they are called to provide (1 Tim. 5:8). While both parents are to be honored by their children (Eph. 6:2), Paul singled out fathers for the trait of a patient teacher of their children (Eph. 6:4). Women are called to help (Prov. 31:10-11), submit to their husbands out of respect to the Lord (Col. 3:18), and care for the needs of their homes (Tit. 2:5). Godly women are so important they are supposed to teach younger women how to love their husbands and children (Tit. 2:4).
Differences in Needs. We understand the different needs of men and women by the commands God gives to spouses. Women are called to submit to their husbands (Eph. 5:22) because men long for significance and someone to give them recognition for accomplishments. Little boys who are told what they are good at grow up to be men who are confident in how God has wired them. Men are called to love their wives in a sacrificial manner (Eph. 5:25) because women long for security that comes from someone always willing to give of themselves for them. Little girls who find security in Christ and what a real godly man lives like will rarely settle for something less.
While you are raising little boys and girls, they are growing into men and women. Make sure as you parent them you are molding godly character in them that pleases Jesus.
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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