I recently discovered that my daughter will be reading a book about a transgender child in her 4th grade class. Yes, it is one that is often on the Banned Book lists. Of course, I have mixed feelings about this. Those mixed feelings aren’t because I don’t believe that trans stories and experiences should be told. I’d prefer my daughter to have another year or two before having to tackle these complex topics. But in reality, she is already facing them. There have been transgender and non-binary kids at her school, beginning when she was in kindergarten.
For a number of reasons, my wife and I have opted for a public school education for our 2 children. I understand the appeal of removing kids from environments that push for these conversations sooner than I would like. Yet, here we are.
I’m aware that when I was a year younger than my daughter is now, I had already been introduced to sexual touch and “play.” This really set the stage for a lifetime of over-sexualization and addiction. I was unequipped to talk about what had happened (so were my parents). My hope is that my children (and I) can engage these topics with a Christ-centered approach. Gender and sexual orientation are not the same thing, but they certainly interact with each other. I want to be able to talk about these big cultural issues now, so we can hopefully talk about them when they become more personal.
One BIG reason that I am GRATEFUL this is happening now is that my daughter still wants to hear what I think and actually listens to me. This may not be as easy to accomplish in a few years. Hopefully, we can lay some groundwork for having some meaningful dialogue on controversial topics.
My Plan to Engage
While I am no stranger to discussing topics of sexuality and gender, I am new to these experiences as a parent. I’m open to your feedback and suggestions. I especially appreciate your prayers. I recognize what works with my 9-year-old may not work for a discussion with a teenager. And as they say, “The best laid plans…” I may need to adapt along the way!
Yes, it needs to be said. Pray, pray, pray! I will be praying for wisdom in how to have thoughtful, grace-filled conversations with my children. I’m praying for discernment in seeing and communicating about the content in the book, what is helpful, what isn’t, and how to teach my daughter to evaluate the content.
Read the Book
I plan to read the book and come to my own conclusions. Then I will spend a little time researching what others are saying… both those who love the book and those who do not.
Discuss the Book
While my daughter is reading the book, I will discuss it with her. I’ll ask her what she thinks and tell her what I think about it. We will pray together for compassion and understanding.
Particularly after classroom discussions are happening, I will connect with my daughter about how those conversations are going. Are differing viewpoints welcome? How do you feel about what is being discussed?
Parents, I’d love to hear how you are navigating these conversations. Drop me a note!
Roger began working with WGA in October of 1996 as the Assistant office Manager. Since that time, he has worn many hats and served in several different positions, including Assistant Program Director and Operations Director. In April of 2007, Roger assumed the position of Executive Director.
Roger attended West Texas A&M University, where he studied Music Business. Much of his training has been “on the job,” where he was mentored by the ministry’s Founder, Mary Heathman, and the Program Director, Scott Kingry. He holds a BA from West Texas A&M University.
Roger, his wife Jill, and their daughter Julia and son William, attend Celebration Community Church where Jill serves as Senior Pastor.
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