It’s helpful to start this blog with some identifiers. I am a cisgender, white, middle-aged, female. I identify as heterosexual and I am married to a cisgender, white, middle-aged man. We have two little boys who are aware of their whiteness, but not yet aware of the privilege it affords them. These two little boys are not yet able to identify (to the best of my knowledge) their gender, but their sex is male. My husband and I do not currently observe anything in our children that points to gender dysmorphic disorder, nor gender identity confusion.
In our journey of parenting, my husband and I have been intentional about allowing our children to play with all sorts of things. We allow our sons to play with dolls or footballs, whatever they each feel drawn to. We’ve not restricted any toys, with the exception of guns in any form, in our home. We’ve done this as a form of gender nonconformity for our children, as we don’t want them to feel like “boys only do ____ (fill in the blank)”. In fact, when we’ve heard them say this (or even said this ourselves), we’ve instantly asked the question of them, “What makes you say that? Why do you think that’s a boy/girl toy?” Usually, the answer is “I don’t know. I guess it just is.” Or “I see the girls playing more with it than the boys at school.”
We decided a long time ago that we were going to pursue an egalitarian marriage, and pursue an egalitarian form of parenting. CBE states, “In the Christian home, husband and wife are to defer to each other in seeking to fulfill each other’s preferences, desires and aspirations. Neither spouse is to seek to dominate the other but each is to act as servant of the other, in humility considering the other as better than oneself…Husband and wife will help the Christian home stand against improper use of power and authority by spouses and will protect the home from wife and child abuse that sometimes tragically follows a hierarchical interpretation of the husband’s, ‘headship’.” This is important to us because it’s how we model for our children wholeness. In our family, we recognize the need for both genders to understand completeness in Christ. This is exemplified in allowing our children to practice and play at both genders. We expect our sons to wash dishes and do laundry, which is commonly considered women’s work, in the same way that I, as the mother, work and play outside, which is commonly considered men’s work. When everyone in our family participates in all the work, the family, in our perspective, is considered wholly engaged.
In our quest to engage our children in participation in family activities, we have realized that there are certain chores that are outside of their bounds of their knowledge or ability. For instance, my younger son loves to do laundry. He loves to load the washer, put soap in, push the buttons, transfer it to the dryer and take it out. However, he continually tries to fold, but his fine motor skills are just not developed enough for him to fold his clothes well enough to fit in his drawers. It won’t be this way forever, but it is now, until he continues to develop.
After this week’s reading, I wonder if understanding gender identity is also something that is beyond the bounds of experience for my own children. I cannot presume to know or understand others children, just the two I’ve been given the blessing of stewarding. I struggle to articulate how a child who cannot fold his own shirt properly has a well-developed identity formation to understand gender and sexual identity constructs? “But a four-year-old can only know themselves as a four-year-old…” says Davies-Arai. And as a parent of one, I have to agree. If I cannot expect my children to understand the ins and outs of washing dishes or yardwork, even when presented with both options on a regular basis, how can they know the intricacies of masculinity or femininity?
 Stephanie Davies-Arai, “The Transgender Experiment on Children”, Transgender Children and Young People: Born in Your Own Body, Heather Brunskell-Evans and Michele Moore, eds. (Cambridge Scholars Publisher, 2018), 17.
 “Men, Women, and Biblical Equality”, CBE International. CBEinternational.com, 1989.