The magazine’s cover model posed provocatively, a deceptively demure smile on his face – or was it her face? – and progressive media outlets gushed over the courage it took for Bruce Jenner to produce the figure we now know as ‘Caitlyn’. But while much of the country loudly praised the aged athlete, a portion of the population questioned the decision. Some stated that such drastic measures have not been shown to change the rate of suicide among individuals electing them. Others questioned the decision of doctors who participate in such bodily mutilation. Many questioned those around Jenner who encouraged the surgery, but perhaps even those questioning, missed a deeper questioning society should face.
The decision to change gender is one modern medical science has provided in some measure to those with significant financial resources. Although a man still cannot become pregnant, give birth, or nurse a child among other things, he can change the pitch of his voice, the structure of his face, develop breasts, and even reconstruct his genitalia, but has this become the major difference between man and woman? What truly makes a man, a man and have we become so confused about our gender roles that we are unsure of who we were created to be?
What does it mean to be a real man, what brings long term happiness, and how do we value manhood. Have we confused men by expecting them to be soft when they were once protectors and providers and expecting women to be protectors and providers when they were once nurturers? With little difference in roles of males and females, is man now little more than a physically different woman? Is a man born a man sometimes a mistake?
As we try to recreate that which the Potter made, do we presume to know more than God about who we were meant to be or is it possible that we have weakened gender roles so much that we are confused about our goals, our plans, our status, and our purpose? Could that confusion cause us to be uncertain of what our role is, what role we identify with, and what physical figure we should portray to best reflect that role confusion?
The Lord gave men and women different strengths and weaknesses. He intended them to share burdens, to build one another up, and to promote the uniqueness of being male and of being female. Yet, today we strive to prove we all have the similar strengths and that weaknesses are not opportunities for others to shine or for ourselves to grow but flaws that need to be eliminated. Today, so-called modern society tells citizens they can do anything, be anything, and go anywhere and that consequences are going to be positive. Ultimately but mistakenly, there are few, if any, restrictions to the happiness mankind feels he is owed.
The man who used to take pride in being provider and protector of his family is okay walking away from a wife and children to seek his own happiness because he has a right to be happy. The father who swears he would do anything for his children now can only do that “anything” every other weekend, and society is fine with that. Society often encourages that.
We continuously see the intact family excelling while single parent families struggle, and yet, we believe that family is not reflective of the Trinity, three intact parts: Husband, Wife, and Children paralleling the Love of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. We believe the lie that men can do anything women can do and women can do anything men can do, and then we point fingers and complain and sulk like teenagers who don’t get their way.
Single moms become the providers and protectors of their families, while single dads struggle to show they can be nurturing on their visitation days. Visitation days, a term once associated with prison sentences, has now been applied to fatherhood, but we ignore that fact in pursuit of our own happiness and wonder why we never fully attain that elusive emotion. By perpetrating the lie of equality (meaning created with the same abilities and roles) we have done a disservice to both men and women. By encouraging men to seek happiness in the pursuit of their own pleasure rather than encouraging them to seek joy in the role of provider and protector, we have belittled the importance of being a man created by God as man, husband, and father. We have confused our purpose to such an extent that we are unsure of who we are. Why are we surprised when gender changes are plastered over tabloids, news reports, and the nurse’s office at our children’s schools?
Society should be researching manhood and what makes a man happy longterm. Being a provider and protector, knowing he has taken care of his family and been a strong leader, a role model for his sons and displaying traits his daughters will look for in a future husband used to be the highest goal. These ideals used to bring man honor, respect, and yes, happiness.
When did this change? Where did we go off the path of provider and protector and why doesn’t society realize that when providers and protectors are gone or if the force that once provided and protected now works only part time that dangers await those who were once considered precious?
If a man is no longer necessary as a provider and protector, does he question the role the Lord intended for him to such an extent that he believes he is a mistake? Does he believe the Lord should have made him differently? Does he believe he can fix the Potter’s errors?
Men were created to be wonderful, amazing creatures, and many men are resisting the call of modern society and living up to what God created them to be. There are role models and amazing, magnificent men out there, and I thank God for them daily. There are men doing a fantastic job of being a man — men who don’t realize we notice; men who don’t realize they are talked about behind their backs and everything said is good; men who give us hope and joy and fill us with wonder at the perfectness of God’s plan reflected in those who honor it.
Men have unique gifts, gifts no woman, no matter how amazing she is, can give to a spouse, to a child, to a society. Let us honor those gifts that make a man truly a man. As we approach Father’s Day, let us remember to thank those amazing men in our lives and to seek out those who are truly living as God planned them to be. Let us remember that women should also enjoy protecting and providing, but that their version of this is different from a man’s version. Before recreating the images God made us in, before redefining manhood, let us return to His plan, let us honor man’s true strengths. Let us strive for God’s honor and glory rather than our own happiness, for true happiness only comes in the Lord.
Happy Father’s Day & God Bless…