GodsDesign Sampler FULLSAMPLER-compressed - Page 33



G ender I dentity and S exual O rientation : O ur  B est C ounsel
Common sense demands we accept the possibility that some of our
children may have a “nudge” in this or that direction. Our job is to do
something about it as best we can. We don’t passively accept that our
child is predestined to watch five hours of TV daily, nor do we excuse
them from church because they are inclined toward ­TV-­watching and not
toward church or religion. We don’t conclude that they are doomed to be
depressed like their grandmother or that they simply cannot be conscientious or agreeable! So why sit passively by when it comes to gender identity
and sexual orientation?
Returning to the question of choice, we think of causation this way:
Biology gives our children a variety of pushes in a variety of directions. Our
job as parents is to encourage their growth toward strength, virtue, faith,
and godliness in every dimension through the way that we shape, encourage, teach, and discipline. Our children’s decisions matter along the way,
and we have a chance to shape those choices.5
No child makes a sudden, isolated, single choice regarding his or her
gender identity or sexual orientation. But every human being makes a cascade of small choices from the moment we are born until we die that will
push us in one direction or another. This is the essence of the critical human
capacity for s­elf-­determination. This capacity is fundamental to what it
means to be human.
Our job is to help our children make those decisions well. And as we
do so, we also need to remember that no single action by a parent (missing
the ball game, having a bad day, one angry outburst) is going to decide our
child’s future. Parenting is like weaving a tapestry; small mistakes can disappear as the bigger project takes shape.
The second major point has to do with the sexual differentiation of
the brain. There is growing evidence of the gross inadequacy of any simplistic idea that there are easily differentiated masculinized and feminized
brains that develop only as a simple and direct result of hormone levels in
the womb over a period of several weeks during pregnancy. Better research
now suggests that the biological factors contributing to the masculinization
or feminization of the brain are strongly influenced by and interact with
environmental factors, factors that specifically include the gender socialization experiences that happen as the developing child interacts with parents,
family, and culture from birth onward. This research underscores the critical role played by parents, family, and church in shaping the future sexual
orientation and gender identity of our children.6
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