Gendered Chatting

Time to get back into blog rhythm…

I’m not even sure where I’m going to go with this post, but I have to write about the experience. My family and I are currently making plans for another Disney World trip. Right now, the primary decisions to made involve rooms – which resort and what type of rooms. As my wife and I were discussing the possibilities, and taking input from our seven year old son, he offered an unexpected twist. We wanted to know if he was more interested in the amenities available at one site over another. He was thinking along another line…

“I know!  I can share a room with Dad, and you can stay with Nana and Memaw, Mom!”

“But I want to stay with my husband, you know.”

“Yes, son, I really look forward to staying with my wife on our vacation time.”

“But this way, you girls can chat about girl stuff, and me and Dad can chat about guy stuff.”

“Oh really!  What kind of stuff were you thinking of?”

“You know!  Mom, you and Nana and Memaw can chat about beautiful stuff.  Dad, you and me can chat about destructive stuff.”

The kid is only seven years old and already has the solid gender constructs that femininity is about beauty and relational celebration, and masculinity is about destruction and explosive power! And it’s funny how this has impacted me as I consider it.  I am very pleased to know he has a clear distinction in his mind about masculinity and femininity, and that he obviously identifies with me (a virtual paragon of masculinity).  And on a very immature, flesh level, it feels good to hear him pick me as his favorite parent.  Look – just keepin it real, okay!

But I want him to understand that true masculinity, at its very best, is FAR more than having the power to destroy.  I am reminded of the scene from “The Lion King” where King Mufasa is talking to his young son, Simba, about what it means to be king.  At one point, Simba cries out, “But don’t kings get their way all the time?!”  To which his father replies, “Simba!  There’s more to being king than getting your way all the time!”  “There’s MORE!” exclaims the eager, yet self-centered lad.  Then Mufasa begins to explain to him the “Great Circle of Life.”

I think my son has just opened up a golden opportunity for me to expound upon his understanding of manhood, and help him catch a vision for a much grander identity and purpose.  I need to tell him and show him how a Real Man uses his strength to bless, lead, encourage, fight, equip, defend, build, and ultimately surrender to God’s greater purposes.  As my buddy, Hans, would say – “Time to man up!”

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