A Biblical Diagnosis of My Princess Boy

father-and-sonThis statement was taken from the “About the book” page of http://myprincessboy.com/index.asp. “My Princess BoyTM is a nonfiction picture book about acceptance. It tells the tale of a 4-year-old boy who happily expresses his authentic self by enjoying “traditional girl” things like jewelry, sparkles or anything pink. It is designed to start and continue a dialogue about unconditional friendship and teaches children — and adults — how to accept and support children for who they are and how they wish to look.”

My Princess Boy has gained national and international attention since it has been published. Opinions are divided as to whether the parents are doing the right thing in allowing their young son to express himself by enjoying “traditional girl” things. There are certainly a number of questions that can go through one’s mind:

  1. Is it possible for a child to genuinely prefer things that are associated typically to the other gender? Can a boy prefer “girl things” or can a girl prefer “boy things”? Does the child have the freedom to choose what he or she likes, or are those choices part of his or her very being, such as being part of his or her DNA?
  2. What are the parents to do in such circumstances?

Furthermore, in her interview with the The TODAY Show, Ms. Cheryl Kilodavis – the mother of the young boy – stated that her book stands for hope and acceptance. She further commented that in light of all the bullying and their often fatal consequences in 2010, 2011 should be the year of acceptance. Keeping everything in context, Ms. Cheryl Kilodavis’s concept of acceptance refers to embracing each and everyone’s individuality. Again, one may ask, what could possibly be wrong with this message?

This is the first of two articles where we hope to answer these questions. This article will address the first two sets of questions, while the second will leverage My Princess Boy to address the wider concept of “acceptance”. In both articles, we will use as the sole authority of truth, the Word of God, as revealed in the Bible. As the Book of Life, God must have something to say about “My Princess Boy”. Returning to God’s Word, especially in times where we are unsure about what to think, should be our first course of action. So let’s open the Book!

  1. Is it possible for a child to genuinely prefer things that are associated typically to the other gender? Can a boy prefer “girl things” or can a girl prefer “boy things”? Does the child have the freedom to choose what he or she likes, or are those choices part of his or her very being, such as being part of his or her DNA?

Proverbs 22:15 – Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.

God tells us in what condition children arrive in this world…they are foolish. It is not an option. We all arrive in this world with foolishness “bound” in our heart. Anyone who has ever observed a child for more than five minutes will quickly agree with the first part of this verse. However, God is also quick to tell us that the child should not stay that way, and He tells us what we, as parents, should do to address this problem: We should use the rod of correction. If we can so easily agree with God regarding the state of a child, we ought also to agree with the solution He provides to address this issue. God says that this rod of correction will drive foolishness not just away from him, but “far” from him.

The word “rod” is interesting. It is the means by which correction is performed. The “rod” is also indicative of how serious and relentless we ought to be when correcting, so that foolishness be ultimately being driven far away. The word “bound” also deserves attention. It refers to something that can only be removed by sheer will and never on its own! Now, what should the rod be really depends on the foolish aspect being dealt with at that time. In some cases, simple words of instructions may be necessary, while in others, the belt might be necessary. The goal is the same: to “detach” that foolishness which is so far “bound” to the child.

Is it possible therefore for a child to genuinely prefer things that typically are associated to the other gender? Absolutely yes! This preference is no different than a deep interest for trains or even fire, all of which could be developed for a variety of reasons. We do not always know how children develop a particular interest. But we do know that because they are foolish, they can develop the wrong interest just as they can develop the right one. The role of the parents is to correct this foolish behavior such that over time, as foolishness is driven far away from him, the child becomes wise in his or her choice.

Accepting the child for who he or she is the ultimate failure to recognize the truth of Proverbs 22:15. At best, accepting the child for who he or she is, is recognizing that the child is foolish and deciding to do nothing about it.

2.   What are the parents to do in such circumstances?

Well, what are they to do? They should correct their children.

Proverbs 22:6 – Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.

The parents – not the child himself – should decide what the child should become in life. Although this truth seems like an outright violation of our personal freedom, it actually makes a lot of sense. The child is foolish! Would you ever trust a foolish individual to make the best possible decision for his or her life? No! This is not referring to whether the child should be a pianist or a lawyer in life. It is referring to the very essence of the kind of person this child should turn out to be in life.
By nurturing the so-called “authentic self” of her child, Ms. Cheryl Kilodavis is indeed practicing Proverbs 22:6: she is training her child in the way he should go. If this young boy keeps these preferences for “traditional girls” things for the rest of his life, it will certainly not be because the child chose to be that way, but because his parents, by failing to address this behavior when he was still foolish, ended up training him to be that way.

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