I was never a particularly macho kid. Yeah, my brother and I played with cars and trucks. We even played the occasional vacant lot baseball game. Despite that, I never played organized sports. I was the last picked for teams in gym class. I chose the Drama electives instead of more manly subjects. Crying was not outside of my repertoire. Coming of age when I did, it was not easy to be the sensitive boy.
"When are you going to get a real job?" --Cindy, about my work educaring infants and toddlers
|On the floor with babies mid-80s|
There were jobs I did not receive because of a cultural bias that any man who wanted to work with babies must be a molester. It was not easy blazing a trail. The joys and contentment I have always felt with humanity's youngest is a clear sign that this was the Divinely-led path for me.
As a bi-vocational minister, I still spend time working with babies and young children part-time. Things have gotten better or, perhaps, I've just gotten better at finding people who see my gifts. Nonetheless there are far too few men who work with young children. Our culture still has stratified roles for women and men.
|On the floor with preschoolers, 2011|
When we force boys or girls into rigidly culturally-constructed roles based upon their sexual organs, we deny their humanity. We deny their Divinely created gifts. In effect, we idolize - treat as a god - our own socially-constructed gender roles.
Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. To one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the discernment of spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. All these are activated by one and the same Spirit, who allots to each one individually just as the Spirit chooses. 1 Corinthians 12: 4-11 NRSV (View this passage in context.)
When we discourage girls from studying the sciences or boys from nurturing babies, we teach our children to ignore the Spirit. We tell our children to pretend to be someone they are not. We tell God that we know better.