Gender has become one of the most talked about topics in recent years. Society has changed. What seemed a given 40 years ago, that a person was assigned their sex at birth, is no longer a given and people can choose their gender. I am glad to see that Christians are not too far behind on this topic but that books are being written and people are speaking out on this vast and difficult topic.
Many books have been written on this topic of gender and how the Christian community should respond in a way that is both Biblical and loving. I have read a good number of books on this topic that I would, and do, highly recommend to people who are being confronted with this issue. But, this is the first that I have read specifically with children in mind.
The truth is that if parents don’t teach their children about gender, sexuality and identity then the educational system and biggest voices in society will. There is no longer such a thing as a ‘Christian bubble’ that remains untouched by the world, this has many many positives, but it also means that there are areas of confusion and difficulties for many people.
Seagraves and Leavine do a tremendous job in this very short, very practical book Gender of setting conversations with children about gender. I am not yet a parents, but I am a member of and Assistant Pastor in a church and these issues are very real for everyone who is involved in any way with children. I find that often when it comes to big topics like this we almost feel as if we need to sit down with the child and have an ‘adult conversation’ too often we forget that kids are kids and that a more natural conversation is the best way forward.
One of the things that impressed me about this book is the way it encourages people to have these conversations really early, and not only to have them as a reaction to a conversation or something happening. A lot of the time Christians can be reactionary, reacting to a situation that happens instead of anticipating it and preparing the child for that situation. This can lead to conversations being awkward and basically kind of weird, if I’m honest. Conversation need to start early and done well.
A true understanding of gender and personal identity must be grounded in a firm understanding of the person of God, His will for and design of humanity and a firm foundation of His authority. Sea grave and Leavine put it like this
“When we start to pick and choose when to accept the authority of God’s word, we are standing on a slippery slope;
if one part is rejected, we will struggle to hold on to any of it.
How we think and talk about gender is connected to our view of God’s word as a whole.”
The way we engage our children with the teaching on the Bible on every issue, not just gender, will shape the importance they put on Scripture in the future and can help them to understand what a good Christian worldview is.
This book is very practical and is gives you questions to ask, answers to give and even situations in which you can naturally talk about gender and what the Bible says about it. I really liked how this book looked at how to have conversations with different age groups (up to 7 years old, 7-11 years old and 12+) this book definitely gave me the confidence to speak about gender and to have an idea of how to approach the topic with children, parents and other who work with children.
I don’t often say this, but here goes… this is a must read for every parents, pastor, youth and children’s worker, teacher… basically if you know a child then you should read this book. It helps you think through a difficult topic in a simple way whilst being condensed into a small book that can fit into your pocket. I devoured this book in an afternoon, and I suggest that when it comes out in September you get a hold of a copy.
You can buy it here from The Good Book Company: https://www.thegoodbook.co.uk/gender