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Randy Bella

March 30, 2013  10:12pm

I would not mind either way--doll or no doll, but when what is proposed by Sesame Street is part of a larger scheme to fight God's intent in creating a man and a woman (not two men and not two women), I would stay away from the doll thing or pink or any of that godless fad. With my boys I do my best to salvage as much as possible from the real Moses, Abraham, Daniel, David, etc., and our Lord Himself. Some of these were poets and very tender when necessary, but all of them courageous, and sometimes capable of killing many if that is the call (I pray they never need to). I can tell you that there is not enough time to teach a man to develop his God-given strength and being godly in this culture. Love and fear of God, godliness, holiness, is what they need. Kids really need very little of Toys"R"us and much more of the Lord. If the economy goes down, you will need the toughest boy you can find (with a godly heart). May the Lord help us all.

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audrey ruth

March 09, 2013  9:35pm

Adam, Caryn missed Owen Strachan's point and stressed things he did not stress. I read her article here first, then clicked on the link to read his, and did not see much of a connection. I do agree with Strachan's concerns about 'gender-bending' today, which is very evident on virtually every front, and my husband does too.

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Adam Shields

March 04, 2013  10:53am

@David and Audrey, I still don't think that Caryn is taking the his words of out context. But do you think that Sesame Street's point that boys should not be made to feel ashamed for playing with dolls is an appropriate point? Because Strachan went digging for this. It is a two year old episode. He says at the end of his piece that this is about much more than whether it is ok for boys to play with dolls is it is about a whole world view of how men and women interact with the world. And I agree with that point. His post was not about boys playing with dolls. His post is using that as an illustration of what is wrong with media and the world. Otherwise he would have dealt with the matter in a very different way.

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David Wren

March 03, 2013  8:51am

Regardless of the merits of this article, I wonder what the reaction would be to one written by a man, titled: "God Made Girls to Play with Tools, Trucks, and Toy Guns."

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audrey ruth

March 02, 2013  3:52pm

Love Michael Beiber's post, which reminds me of my own husband who is such a marvelous mixture of tough and tender. Throughout the years, he has skillfully done all sorts of heavy "man" jobs, then just as skillfully burped little babies, cared for them when they were sick with fever, then helped them with schoolwork, coached their ball teams, and levied discipline when they grew older. (But he didn't have dolls when he was young, just some GI Joes, lol.) A real man does indeed reflect "the goodness and severity of God." Though my husband is not a farmer, the Paul Harvey Super Bowl commercial also reminded me of him. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/business/2013/02/dodge-rams-super-bowl-spot-fea tures-paul-harveys-tribute-to-farmers/

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audrey ruth

March 02, 2013  11:16am

It is true that Caryn's article here does not accurately represent Strachan's statements, or even the point of his article. ITA with his statements I've copied here: "We’ve now transitioned culturally to an era in which the basic foundations of the Protestant worldview are under assault. This is true on many levels, from MTV (obviously) to sexual education in public schools to, apparently, the television shows aimed at tiny kids." My older children watched Sesame Street, but by the time my younger children were of TV-watching age, it had changed and I didn't feel it was wise for them to watch it. The few times I checked it again, that was immediately confirmed. PBS does not broadcast programs with a Biblical worldview, and Sesame Street is no exception. It is not reaching to say that Satan is behind such things, because the Lord has clearly shown us that the world system is constantly seeking to draw us away from Him. Children are always primary targets because of their innocence.

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Christine Guthrie

March 01, 2013  1:26pm

I agree with David - there is a lot of over-stating and over-reacting going on. (and over-dissecting which is typical of the internet) I might not agree with that boys must never play with dolls (although Strachan did not say that exactly), but I do agree that we should not just blindly swallow the values being taught in these children's shows as well in as the larger culture. One value I have not wanted my children to absorb is that men and women are interchangeable (and fathers are only useful if they act like backup mothers). And yes, I am one of those evil mothers that didn't let my kids watch all the trash on PBS.

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Adam Shields

March 01, 2013  10:12am

@David L, I disagree. This is not over-reacting or misconstruing his words. Here are some direct quotes "boys playing with dolls is foolish" "It’s wrong to train them [boys] in such a way as to blur the sexual boundaries God himself created." "Gender distinctions, in other words, carry all the way through, and are the foundation of the social relationship that speaks of the love of Christ for his church." What Carolyn didn't say, but what is clear to me is that Strachan's point is that the boy in the episode, should be made to feel ashamed to play with dolls. The particular thing that is wrong in Strachan's eyes, is that the boy is being made to feel unashamed at something that he feels is shameful. The only way that I believe that Strachan's words can be construed is that Boys should not play with dolls because that is a girl's toy. Babies are for women not men to care for. Strachan is trying to make this into a larger issue. This is an example of what is wrong with the world

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David J

February 28, 2013  4:13pm

I call a foul on Caryn. Strachan's jumping off point is simply that boys shouldn't play with baby dolls. Whether you agree with him or not (I'll be accused of agreeing with him, but it won't be true), it is intellectually dishonest to say that he "claim[s] that babies are women's domains, that only mothers should rock and coo and play with their children," etc. Strachan says no such thing and no one who is not looking to score cheap points or to pander to his ideological/theological/political opponents would mis-read his "rant" to say so. Strachan over-reacted to the individual Sesame Street episode. (To be fair, you know he's correct in his belief that Sesame Street generally is hostile to biblical morality.) But Caryn likewise over-reacted to and essentially misrepresents Strachan. Two over-reactions don't make an edifying exchange.

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Amy Bost Henegar

February 28, 2013  12:47pm

Amen. Another excellent article, Caryn. Thank you.

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Melissa Otterbein

February 28, 2013  10:02am

Thank you, Caryn! Great to see more and more women voice concerns over "prescribed gender roles." Melissa Otterbein

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erin gentry

February 27, 2013  10:57am

My friends helped their little boy get ready for a new baby in their home by giving him a baby doll and a small, plain crib to put in his room. There were few accessories - bottles, diapers, etc - but nothing over-the-top. And you know what? When I saw that little boy walking through the halls of our church with that doll, I didn't think, "Uh oh, he's going to be gay one day!" I thought very positively of his parents for using a baby doll in a very commonsense way to teach the kid how to be loving, careful, and nurturing with his little brother. The boy is now 10 years old and loves to play rough & tumble, just like any other little boy. I don't get what the fuss is over, and I love all the mentions in this article about God's very mother-like love for his children. :) Thank you!

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Michael Beiber

February 27, 2013  10:16am

Ok. I'm a man's man. I like doing manly things - grunting, scratching, all of it. But the manliest things I've ever done and continue to do are - love God, be a loving husband and love my son. I'll tell him that I have a secret and he comes us to me nose to nose - and I whisper "I love you" and he whispers back "I love you, too". As a baby I often rocked him to sleep singing "Jesus Loves Me". He's two now and while he doesn't have dolls, he has stuffed animals that he plays with. I found him holding and rocking one of his favorites - Baby Eagle - softly singing to him "Jesus loves me this I know..." I cried - it was one of the manliest moments of my life. I praise God for Dad's who openly and deeply love their children - because they're teaching them how to receive and share love. So when they come to know their Heavenly Father, they will better know how to accept His love and share it with others.

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Karen Smith

February 27, 2013  8:43am

Mr. Kidron, you ran right into a Poe's Law issue for me: I can't tell if your complaint about nurses is something you really feel or if you're being sarcastic. As for the dolls & gay boys issue... most of the gay people I know didn't play with dolls as children. Neither did most of the transgender women I know (including myself - my favorite toys were military action figures, robots, and LEGO blocks - oh and sports gear). As for the gay agenda - my only agenda is that I be able to live, work, love, and worship equally. Well, that and being able to protect those that can't protect themselves; I've known too many people that were thrown out of their homes as children.

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February 27, 2013  5:18am

If gender roles -- or at least as they pertain to toy selection -- are natural and definite, then why does he say that "it is right and good TO TRAIN [BOYS] in masculine, not feminine, ways" (emphasis mine). That implies that the distinctions are cultural and must be taught and learned, perhaps as righthandedness used to be. The kneejerk response to that, I suppose, is that we have to resist our sinful tendencies. But how is lovingkindness from either gender is a sinful tendency?

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Matthew Kidron

February 26, 2013  10:14pm

Ludicroius. This is part of the gay agenda, to get boys to play with dolls. They aren't satisfied with recruiting grown men with so called manscaping, urinary catherter and so called prostrate exam. This is also why nurses should not be permitted to use rectal thermometer on baby boys. It is effort to effeminate True Christian men of USA.

Rachel Stephan Simko

February 26, 2013  7:15pm

I don't understand where he's getting his ideas from. The Bible? Or the 1950s? evenonesparrow.blogspot.com

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John Holmes

February 26, 2013  6:46pm

It would appear that Owen Strachan has not approached this issue with an open mind, and has not allowed actual observations of children's behavior to inform any preconceptions. I am old enough to have seen the 'unisex' ideas that the differences between boys and girls were primarily culturally driven. After watching both my own children as well as those of my friends grow up and now my grandchildren, I have come to the conclusion that they will play with any thing, yet gender differences will express. You will see Barby crashing trains, and 'BuzzLightYear' in a pram. Humans do have some deep seated built instincts which will express in various ways. All good fun, Barby becomes a weapon for some, and next is in the doll house.

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February 26, 2013  3:38pm

Thank you! There are some - like Strachan - who confuse America's cultural mores with sexuality. Playing with dolls has nothing to do with sexuality. Thank you for pointing out the God-given desire to show love as demonstrated in playing with dolls.

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Tim Fall

February 26, 2013  2:43pm

My first thought was "Who's Owen Strachen"? My second thought was "Who does Owen Strachen think he is to criticize the parenting style of the One who said he longs to gather his children to himself as a mother hen does her chicks?" Good job helping me see the answers to both those questions, Caryn. Cheers, Tim ( timfall.wordpress.com )

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Stanley J. Groothof

February 26, 2013  1:28pm

I nearly cracked up when Mr. Strachan made the distinction between dolls and stuffed animals, with the latter meeting his approval as appropriate for boys. For a moment I wondered whether his entire was piece was actually meant to be satire. But, alas, he's being serious.

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Janna Spranza

February 26, 2013  12:29pm

Thank you for this! At first I thought, are you kidding me? when I read Strachan's post but then as I thought about it I actually got a bit angry. That someone would say my boys are being less than what God made them to be when they cuddle a doll (or their stuff animal), by their own choosing no less! Needless to say, I wholeheartedly disagree with him. And thank you also for the reminder of how God is our loving Father, as demonstrated in the Bible and through the character of Jesus as well.

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Adam Shields

February 26, 2013  12:17pm

I am pretty tired of these pastors telling me that the work I do is unbiblical, just as I am sure many other women are tired of these same men telling them that the work they do is unbiblical. I am not rejecting the role of the church to challenge other members. But rants like Strachan's don't do much more than fire people up (on both sides). No one's mind is changed. No one's practice is likely changed. While I don't think articles like this are bad, I do think it would be better is there were more positive articles about why we should support boys playing with dolls or support women in leadership or even positive reasons why we should encourage boys to stop playing with dolls. Reacting against is easier, gets more pages views, but I think in the end can make us intellectually lazy and more focused on competing for ideas. I think the last paragraph, documenting how God is countercultural in his fatherhood is a fabulous way to work on this (just without the first line)

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