Who's In Charge Around Here?

Friday, June 13, 2014

Just a few days ago I posted about avoiding controversial subjects on Facebook.
I stand by my convictions that FB isn't the best place to engage in a debate.
Which is why it was so hard for me to see countless friends praising this couple for their "incredible parenting decision" while keeping my mouth shut.

Have you seen the video?
Watch it. 
(Maybe without your young kids in the room unless you want to answer some tricky questions.)

Now, I do feel like my blog is a place where I can give my two-cents on the subject.
I'm nervous to put it out on the internet and receive backlash for my thoughts, but I feel strongly enough to speak my mind on this one.

First off, let me say I agree that these parents are good parents.
They are good parents because they obviously love their child.
They are passionate about doing that they believe is best for her.
I applaud that kind of parenting.
However, I do think they made a wrong call on this one.
Good parents can make bad decisions.
And, in my opinion, their decision to allow their six year old daughter to make a life-altering decision is a poor choice.

And you know who I blame?
I blame society at large.
These parents sought help. They listened to counsel.
And you know what they heard.
"Let your daughter decide."

Society has spoken.
And children are in control.

The purpose of my post today is not to discuss whether or not it's morally okay to allow a little girl to become a little boy (although i'm assuming if you read this blog you know my opinion on that at well). The purpose is to discuss how we became a society that allows a child to make that kind of a decision.

We don't allow 6 years olds to drink alcohol -- not only is it bad for their health but they wouldn't know how to practice tolerance.
We don't allow 6 years olds to get married -- it's too big a decision to understand at 6.
Most of us won't even allow out 6 year olds to walk down the street without supervision.
And if we were to let a 6 year old dictate the small details of his/her life it would be ice cream and cartoons all day. 

So how did we become a society that allows and supports a 6 year old being mature enough to chose (and change) her own gender?!
That's a big choice.
One that's well beyond the understand and maturity of a young child.

Children should have a voice in the home. They should be allowed to speak their opinion, give their thoughts on a subject without being immediately dismissed, and contribute to family decisions.
However, parents are the ultimate authority and children must learn to respect mom and dad's choices; even when contrary to what the child may want.

I've thought long and hard about what I would do if this was my daughter.
- Want to wear boy clothes? Sure why not.
- Want your hair short? Done.
- Want "boy toys." Absolutely.
- Want to refer to yourself as a boy. We will correct you but we can't force you not to.
- Want us to refer to you as a boy. No
"God made you a girl, love. He created your perfectly. Girls and boys are different but perfectly equal. You may disagree with God's choice for you but Mommy and Daddy believe that God makes no mistakes. We understand you may be frustrated. We hurt that you hurt. But we believe that you are a perfectly created girl and we will celebrate that."

Child-lead parenting.
This trend seems to be increasing in our society.
It's scary.
God gave kids parents because they need them.
The parent-child relationship was design that children would learn to listen and obey under the authority of another person.
If we don't teach our chidden how to operate under, respect, and listen to authority our entire societal structure will collapse.

That means parents need to make decisions for their children. Even if their decisions are unpopular, Even if the child is angry.

I know much of society has turned it's back on God himself.
This greatly saddens me.
But what scares me is when society turns it's back on God's principles.
His design (parent/child authority structure) is perfect because it works.
History proves that as we abandon His structure the foundation begins to crack; and a cracked foundation can only offer support for so long.

(Please be nice. It's okay to disagree with me but I don't want this to turn into anything ugly.)


Jessica G. said...

I saw this video about a week ago. From a scientific point of view, transgender people intrigue me. There is a thing in the brain that makes you a male or female and in autopsies, they have found that transgender people do in fact have the brain of the opposite sex. That being said, if it were my child, I would really wrestle with this. I would be sick about it and I am not sure what I would do. But, I do agree with you that as a culture we somehow have gotten to the point that we are allowing children to dictate major decisions in life, even run our homes and I really don't think that is healthy.

Amy said...

You really have a great way with words. I have been thinking about this situation, and have struggled articulating what has bothered me about it. But just reading your post has brought peace and calmness and clarity to my mind, and to my heart. I just wanted to thank you for being willing to share your thoughts on your blog. I enjoy reading and following what's going on in your life.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing this post!
The brain is a very interesting organ in that much of it is not known. New studies actually show the brain can grow even in old age. Exercise (kind that produces sweat) can grow memory cells in an older person. Current thinking was the brain only shrunk with age.
So what comes first. Does a transgender person really start with a brain wired opposite their gender or does that section of the brain actually grow in that gender as a person lives it?

Ryan and Camille said...

First, I agree with you about facebook. I pretty much avoid discussions there at all costs, I barely even comment on facebook, much less engage in a "discussion."
Second, Ryan and I agree with you regarding this families decision. Your logic is well-founded. Thanks for giving yourself permission to think this through and post your (often unpopular) thoughts to the blog.

Nani said...

Hi Anna,

Ever since you told me about your blog, I follow it occasionally to see how you are doing! I hope you don't mind me sharing my thoughts. I don't expect to change your mind but maybe provide another perspective.

I somewhat agree with your point about parents needing to be the ultimate decision makers for their families...however, some things are so fundamental to a person that they can't be changed, no matter the parenting style or beliefs. I keep thinking to children who are naturally left handed who were forced to write with their right hand because parents/society thought children should be right-handed. It seems like a frivolous comparison but it caused a lot of damage to those people, who were told they were being disobedient for doing something that was completely natural to them. As parents, there are some things we can change about our children and there are some things we can't. We can resist and do damage to their sense of self and our relationship with them or we can accept. Acceptance doesn't mean giving into the child but it means recognizing the core of who your child is. There are a lot of things I don't like about my child- I provide instruction and guidance where I can but some things about him are just part of who he is and trying to get him to bend to my view of what he should be is like trying to run upstream.

As for each of us being made perfect by God, aren't we all born with imperfections that can be changed thanks to modern science? Saying that God created us perfectly seems to indicate that a child born deaf shouldn't be given a hearing implant. Was it a choice God made for that child to be deaf? That's not for me to answer but it seems unfair to say that this child shouldn't get to determine his or her gender because God made him perfectly when the rest of us get to change things about ourselves all the time and it's considered anything from a medical necessity to a cosmetic improvement. God even created some people that have the sexual organs of both males and females, which seems like the epitome of a mistake!

Anyway, that's my .02 on the subject in response to your .02...

Two Cent Sparrow said...

Hi Nani - I so appreciate that you took the time to visit my blog after I mentioned it.

I want to address a few of the points you made in your comment. First off, I think your analogy about left handed people being forced right is a good one. However, I think you may have misunderstood me. In that contact, if Ryland was my child, I am saying I would not force my left-handed child to be right-handed - instead I would teach her to be ambidextrous. She believes she is left-handed. Being left-handed feels right to her. But, I think she should be right-handed, or at least wait until an older age before making a commitment to be a full blown lefty. Therefore, I will not force her to wear dresses, play Mommy, and love pink. I will let her do many things lefty. But, believing her to be born right-handed, I will also make sure she learns right. Then, when she's at an appropriate age, and I've had a chance to explain to her (without shame or condemnation) why I feel right is the best choice for her, she can then make an independent decision at a more mature age.

Also, to clarify, when I said that God makes each of us perfectly I do not mean that He creates us physically perfect. What I mean is that He is omniscience -- He knows and allows all things in our lives. God makes no mistakes. So when a child is born deaf, or disabled, or sick, or transgendered, or even addicted to drugs God knows it and allows it. He doesn't do it - those things happen as a result of the fall of man (we would need to write a book here is we wanted to get into why bad things happen) but He allows them as part of his perfect plan for that person. God knew Ryland would be born a girl and feel like a boy.

Does that mean we shouldn't treat physical disabilities? Absolutely not. And we should treat psychological maladies as well. However, until we know more about the science behind psychological sufferings (particularly in the realm of gender) I am not sure we should treat them the same as physical ones when it comes to children. At this points it's comparing apples to oranges.

Two Cent Sparrow said...

(I'm so long-winded I need to comment boxes)

Finally, I think we could go back and forth on this until we are both blue in the face (fingers :) ). You are one smart cookie and I know you could debate me into the ground (although I did spend one quarter of college on the debate team. We only argued Indian casinos however.) But, the reality is that we will never change each other's mind because we approach these issues from a different worldview.

My worldview is constructed completely and wholly by my faith in Jesus Christ. I believe that God is real and He is perfect. I believe that man is sinful destined for eternal separation from God, except for salvation found through Christ. I believe that while God's is perfect the world is sinful and the curse of sin has caused hurt, diseases, pain, confusion, and anger. It's hard to write these things out without going over them in person because I know on paper they can sound weird, and, honestly, freaky-deaky. But these core beliefs are what shape my perspective on everything I do, believe, say, etc.

Therefore, unless we both have the same worldview I really do not think we could come to an agreeable conclusion to this subject.

But I really do appreciate your points. And I think it important that I clarify that my greatest desire is that Ryland know Jesus. Jesus doesn't care if Rylans approaches Him as a guy or as a girl. He just wants Ryland's heart. The rest (her gender) is just details. One doesn't have to be "perfect" or "figured-out" or hetro-sexual to approach God.

My post was more about how a God-fearing society SHOULD respond to Ryland's situation.( And about the difference between children and adults. Children are still children - the rules are different than for adults) However, the reality its that this society is no-longer God-fearing. And I am. Society and I are often at odds. This is hard sometimes since i often feel misunderstood. But please know this: my heart is that all would know Jesus and know His LOVE for it is his love that gives life meaning. His love is what sets us truly free.

Two Cent Sparrow said...

ps. Please excuse my five billion grammatical errors. I'm writing at midnight after a long day with two crazy children.

Nani said...

Anna, thank you for your thoughtful clarification and expression of your thoughts! Definitely good points for me to mull over, especially regarding what age a person can determine his/her gender (I don't know the answer to this myself.)

I agree that our world views are different (although, growing up in a religious family, I am very familiar with a Christian perspective) and trying to change the other's mind is futile. And that's not really what I was trying to do, because I don't want to attack your belief system. After more reflection, I realized the point I was trying to make is that, in my view, the reason society is embracing this family is because we have seen as a community that the opposite- trying to change gay and transgender people- damages everyone involved. It destroys relationships and leads to depression and suicide in far too many cases. And it simply doesn't work. I guess I see what this family is doing as more of an evolution in society based on years of both research and personal experiences that have showed us the utmost need for compassion, respect and acceptance. Some people would consider this a God fearing response, which just goes to show that even within a belief system, there is still a great divergence of opinion.

Okay, now I will be so bold as to post an ARTICLE, which I know is highly annoying. Like I'm trying to pawn off someone else's expertise on you. But I read it years ago in my alumni magazine and never forgot it and it feels very relevant to our conversation. It is the perfect intersection of the personal, political and spiritual in one father's journey. Again, the purpose is not to change your mind but just introduce a thought-provoking piece. I hope you find it interesting and that I have not overstepped...I really was torn about sharing but am going for it anyways. :)


Joanna said...

This situation is heartbreaking on so many levels. I hadn't seen or heard of it until now, but it's not the first time I've come across this topic and been utterly grieved by the decisions made.

At six, or even as old as twenty, our brains are not fully developed (some people say 25), and to make a literal life altering decision such as this before then seems to be incredibly haste, not to mention just plain sad.

I understand the love the parents feel for their daughter and that they are genuinely trying to love her the best way they feel they can, but I agree with you completely- God made this little girl wonderfully and fearfully and perfectly knit her together the way he meant- and yes, I believe even with the struggles of the flesh that she is experiencing. He knew all of this before time began and chose for her this body, this heart, this mind and these parents.

The fact that our culture and our society focuses so much on making our children happy (and ourselves, for that matter), is astonishing and so divisive to family culture.

Thank you for posting this. And thank you for your wise, well-spoken truth on what God says about who we are as his creation and what role parents take in our children's lives.

Two Cent Sparrow.
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