The good father: it's a boy...

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Until recently, fathers and mothers learned their child's sex at birth when the doctor or midwife announced "it's a boy" or "it's a girl!" Some still choose to protect this romance by telling their ultrasound technician and doctor they don't want to find out beforehand. I like that.

Sex is a calling from God and savoring the revelation until the moment of birth seems to protect its weight and glory. But finally, there it is and it is heavy. How heavy you won’t know fully until your child hits puberty, but from the moment of birth your duties as a father flow in the direction of your precious child’s sex. You want your little one to confess the sex God made him. If he’s a little man, you must teach him manhood. And womanhood if she’s a little woman.

What God decreed at the moment of conception is now visible to you and your wife and both of you must carry it forward. This tiny infant has male or female hormones which soon will begin to develop a man's shoulders or a woman's breasts. God assigned your child this calling and the calling can’t be removed by artificial hormones, surgical mutilation, or anyone's preference for this or that gender identity.

Sex is not a choice, but a command. And this command has been given...

by God. From the beginning He has made your little one male or female. From the very beginning He has anchored your infant’s personhood in his sex. Remember what Jesus said? What God has joined together, let no man divide.

If you’re normal, you’ll start with color. Little boy blue and little girl pink is the norm. Since I’m color blind this drives me crazy. The color of the baby’s clothes reminds you it’s a girl or boy, but it's no help to me. The announcement of the baby's birth, both sex and name, went out on the church’s e-mail list, but I can’t remember either. Since I can’t see what color the baby's wearing, when I first see the baby in church, I have to ask “is it a girl or boy?” No mother has ever responded, “We don’t know, yet. We don’t want to make assumptions about its gender identity. We’re just waiting to see what it wants to be.” 

No, it’s blue or pink; and not just the onesie, but the stroller and blankie and paint on the bedroom walls.1 Parents make a big deal out of their baby’s sex where it doesn’t matter, but not so much where it does. Infant girls have floral designs on their clothes while boys’ clothing features pictures of footballs, fire trucks, and baseball bats, but is this style and fashion all there is to raising a girl or boy?

No. Sex is more than colors and pictures—much more. Sex is duty and responsibility. Sex is personhood. Sex is God’s calling. To live faithful to one’s sex is to live a holy life. And oppositely, to repudiate one’s sex is to defy God.

Part of the Virgin Mary’s holiness was her feminine receptivity to the call of God when she bore the baby Jesus in her womb. In the same way, part of our Lord’s holiness was his masculine taking of responsibility and authority for the Twelve, for the cleansing of His Father’s temple, and for His Own mother standing there crying at the foot of His cross when He said to His beloved disciple, John: “Behold your mother.”

In time, we’ll say more about this. But for now, wrap your mind around the fact that God has not blessed you with a little person, but rather a little woman or a little man. And it’s your job to raise this little man or woman to be faithful to this calling from God.

  • 1. People have tried to say science has debunked the blue/pink bifurcation, but it’s not so. A search of English publications between 1800 and 2000 shows few links between boys and pink, while girls and pink has a substantial number. <>
Tim Bayly

Tim serves Clearnote Church, Bloomington, Indiana. He and Mary Lee have five children and big lots of grandchildren.

Want to get in touch? Send Tim an email!