Parenthood is a daunting challenge that regularly pushes us beyond our edge. And while there are common difficulties in raising sons and daughters, there are unique differences as well. Our presence is needed for both, but often in different ways, which tends to challenge and expose the undone parts in our own hearts.
For instance, we are to model mature masculinity for our sons – providing a living example of what it means to be a man. They are to learn from us how to harness their strength and use their power to bring more life and goodness into the world.
To be sure, this is a high call and many of us don’t feel like we have what it takes. How can we pass on what we don’t believe we’ve received ourselves?
Some of us check out under the pressure – believing our sons are better off without us.
And when we do show up we tend to push our sons to impossible standards because we see them as the report card on our own masculinity. And any perceived weakness is quickly shut down because we can’t tolerate these vulnerable parts in our own story.
On the other hand, our daughters call out a different part of our heart. While it’s much easier to move into protective mode and keep her out of harm’s way, we’re also called to romance her – to take delight in her heart and let her know she’s worthy of love and belonging.
When we struggle to see women wholeheartedly in general, this often plays out in our relationship with our daughters as well. We can’t cherish her femininity when we haven’t learned how to do this elsewhere.
And this often leads us to withdraw our love and affection from her – leaving her to feel unworthy and more vulnerable to anyone who gives her the focused attention she craves.
In the end, we have a unique role to play in the lives of our sons and daughters. And both require us to man up and become all that God has called us to be.
It’s clear your wholehearted presence is needed in order for them to thrive.