Tuesday, 13 May 2008

Building Boys and Growing Girls pt1

This series is the text of a talk for my GEMS meeting. It is written from a Christian world view: this is a warning, not an apology!


: God created boys biologically and chemically different to girls
Boys grow up to have bigger pectorals and girls grow up to have bigger mammary glands, but the biological differences don't stop there. Girls have higher levels of serotonin and boys have much higher levels of testosterone, but the chemical differences don't stop there either. Differences in chemistry and anatomy between boys and girls have flow on effects to the way the children behave, the choices they make and the relationships they have. The differences between boys and girls are not merely a result of social forces, and these differences have a purpose: God's purpose for their lives as adults.

: God created boys to be built into men
Boys are noisy and wiggly; they enjoy playing active, often destructive games; they also enjoy building things and making objects; they like to fight, argue and boast; they take risks; they are good at spatial skills and logical thinking. Boys want to be big, strong, brave and powerful.
This boyish nature is, to a large extent, a result of the biological and chemical nature of boys' bodies.

The hormone testosterone is higher in boys (with spikes prenatally and during puberty), inclining them to higher-risk behaviour choices and equipping them with a drive to succeed. The corpus collosum, a bundle of nerves which join the two halves of the brain, is smaller and less efficient in boys, giving them comparatively less facility with language and hence their communication is more tightly focussed on facts and less on emotions.

These are tendencies which will build them into men who will serve their family as a leader, provider, protector and spiritual director; they will serve the greater body of Christ in some of these ways also, through their career or vocation.

: God's (broad) purposes for men
Boys need to be built into men who will be the husband (manager) of their family.
A husband is not just the name for the male in a marriage relationship: to be a husband means to be one who manages and uses resources thriftily (synonyms of the verb include budget, conserve, economise); the name "husband" has roots in a description of a farmer who tilled his soil and raised food, rendered "husbandman" in the KJV. "Husbandry" refers to farming especially when regarded as a science, skill or art; it also refers to management of responsibilities and resources (synonyms include cultivation, land management, careful management, frugality, thrift, good housekeeping).

Ephesians 5:23 says, "For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Saviour." 1 Timothy 3:4 (describing those men suitable for service to the church) says, "He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him with proper respect." Verse 12 from the same chapter says, "A deacon must be the husband of but one wife and manage his children and his household well."

Boys need to be built into men who will be the provider for their family.
1 Timothy 5:8 says, "If anyone does not provide for his relatives, and especially for his immediate family, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever."

Boys need to be built into men who will be the protector of their family.
Ephesians 5:25&28 says, "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her... In this same way husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself."

Boys need to be built into men who will be the pastor of their family.
Ephesians 6:4 says, "Fathers, do not exasperate your children - instead bring them up in the training and instruction of the Lord." Titus 1:6, another text which considers men who would be suitable for church leadership, lists a prerequisite of being "...a man whose children believe...". There are a number of OT texts which support this also.


Coming up next:
God created girls to grow into women and God's (broad) purposes for women.

After that:
God builds boys and grows girls through the circumstances of their lives and Mothering to build boys and grow girls.

And lastly:
What every child needs, regardless of their gender - a relationship with God!


Mrs. Edwards said...

Hi Sharon!
As an aside, I just finished the BSF Matthew study here in Kansas, USA. Next week we have "sharing night" and then summer break begins. I'll be in the Word this summer for sure, but I'll still miss BSF. You still have the parables and the passion week study to look forward to. It is a rich, rich study.

Regarding your post, this is very good. Your thesis is something that the world resists, even as research bears it out, over and over. I really like the way that you connect the nature-not-nurture child development truth to God's design for men and women as adults.

It looks like you plan to follow up with practical suggestions, so I'll look forward to that. Your current post does beg the question, "So what should I do to help my boys get from noisy and wiggly to managers and providers?"

Like you I have two girls and two boys. Sometimes I just pinch myself to make sure it is real--that God blessed me with two of each. It is a special blessing and insight into the character of God to observe as a mother the development of boys and the development of girls and their special uniqueness.

I'm deeply humbled to be given the task.

Anonymous said...

Hey, Sharon. Looks good :oD.

"A boy needs to grow up to be the manager of his family." I would also add that he needs to grow up to be the *husband* of his family. Have you ever looked up the meaning of that word? It's very interesting. My SIL did a course in horse husbandry just after Phil and I got married. I wondered what *that* was all about. It's all so much clearer now... ;o)

Hope GEMS goes well. You'll have to let me know how Cherub went.

In Him


Sharon said...

Thanks Mrs Edwards for your encouraging comments. Have you done BSF for a while? The Personal Quiet Time seminar is really helpful. I also find it is helpful to plan what I am going to read over the break. If you check out my other blog (scroll down the sidebar for my link) you can see some my Bible Study thoughts from Jan and Feb before BSF started up on Matthew.

Hi Meredith - Cherub was fascinating but she only got through half her material so we are eagerly awaiting her bringing a new baby to another GEMS (she is having the baby this week I think - maybe just had him/her?) and giving us the second half then.
I've just looked up "husband" in my dictionary and I might check out Bible dictionary also. Thanks for the hint.

~ Sharon

Mrs. Edwards said...

Sorry to veer off the topic of your post...
...I've done all the BSF studies now, except for The Life of Moses, which is coming up in September. I've repeated a few of the studies but missed a few when my twins were born 8 years ago.

...I love the Victory Bible Reading Plan which is just a handy read-through-the-Bible-in-a-year plan that I like. It covers the Gospels twice and Psalms and Proverbs twice and all of the OT is chronologically laid out. I read this even during BSF months, but in the summer I spend extra time in my prayer journal. Following this plan, I am now reading 1 Chron, 2 Corinthians, and Psalms.

...Thanks for directing me to your other blog. I'll look for your comments on passages that I read.

One more idea for your boys/girls talk: Incorporate the concept of showing honor to the opposite gender. That is, we are all created in the image of God and a godly man or woman does not joke/dishonor/complain/ridicule about the opposite gender. This is a quality that God expects of both single and married people and it is expected of men and women, but I think it might apply slightly differently to men and women. This point might be useful to consider in case we are mothering children that God calls to singleness. (That was a convicting portion of Matthew--have you gotten to it yet?)

I'll stop rambling. You've got a great talk and don't need to add this...

I appreciate your insights, Sharon.