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God Made Boys to Play with Dolls

God Made Boys to Play with Dolls

Feb 26 2013
The role of a caring dad reflects God's nature as Heavenly Father.

I read Owen Strachan's recent rant against a Sesame Street episode in which "Baby Bear" is told it's OK for boys to play with dolls on the same day my six-year-old son took his Matey Anchors doll to school for show and tell. Maybe my reaction would have been different at a different time.

Maybe the implication that Satan himself is behind my son's desire to own a doll—not to mention show and tell about it!—as well as Sesame Street's "unbiblical and socially disastrous teaching on sexuality and gender" would've brought on nothing more than an eye-roll and a "whatever." I mean, Strachanis the executive director of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and I get that his views on "biblical" gender roles often look different than mine—and certainly different from Sesame Street's.

If my son would have picked his football or any of his more "manly" toys for show and tell, I bet Strachan's words would've still raised my ire. Just as Strachan sees Sesame Street's "open denial of sex roles and gender distinctions" as offensive to God, I find Strachan's stance, that boys who play with dolls (such as Baby Bear or my son, who tumbles and create skits with them) are deviations from God intentions for men, offensive to the many good men and fathers God created.

When we say baby dolls are for girls, that only girls should cuddle and coo dolls, we claim that babies are women's domains, that only mothers should rock and coo and play with their children. What a horrible thing to teach our kids (though it's a common enough claim in our culture). It's a view shared by the "my body/my choice" crowd as well TV writers who malign sitcom dads as doofuses. Strachan probably never imagined he had so much in common with these folks.

This view ignores much of what our Heavenly Father created our earthly fathers to do. Far from offending God when a male plays with or rocks or feeds a baby, I believe it reflects God's own male image. This is, after all, how the Scriptures tell us our Heavenly Father loves us: "The LORD your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing" (Zeph. 3:17).

Our God has us in his arms, singing songs, tossing us high, catching us with giggles, and shushing us when we get scared. And what does this kind of love amount to? 1 John 3:1 says that this is why we're called "children of God." It's the kind of giddy, playful, over-the-top, Baby Bear playing with a baby doll, daddy rocking his baby kind of love. I'm so glad God gives us this—and gives us flesh-and-blood fathers to give it too. What a shame that anyone would think this baby business were only the realm of women and miss out on this view of God and this blessing of fatherhood.

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