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A pandemic of identity

I’m glad I live in a state where our elected officials are choosing to take care of kids. I’m proud that our legislature had the strength of will to pass laws forbidding transgender therapies and surgeries on minors. Kudos to them.

As a kid I was forever playing superheroes, soldiers, or cowboys. The first men stepped on the moon when I was a kid, so you better believe we also played astronaut. It’s called imagination.

But at the end of the day when we were called for dinner, the toys went by the wayside and so did the imaginary identity. I’m sure there were times I wanted to bring my superhero cape to the table, and perhaps Mom let me, but I was never able to demand she call me by a new name:

“My name is not my name anymore and you will call me Stupendous Man! And I will wear a cape every day and you will let me! And you will do as I say because I am the child in this house and that puts me in charge!”

Yeah, that would’ve lasted as long as it took the words to leave my mouth. I would have been corrected, yet still loved, because parents are actually allowed to correct kids. I would say the love of a parent requires that.

But the left says that a child can change identities and the parent must go along with it. That is not the case.

I recently watched in disbelief as Minnesota Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan spoke at a transgender rights rally, making some of the most egregious comments I’ve ever heard come out of an elected official’s mouth. "When our children tell us who they are, it is our job as grown-ups to listen and to believe them,” Flanagan said in an uber liberal, condescending, “I-know-better-than-you-silly-people” voice. “That's what it means to be a good parent.”

By her logic I should be a superhero able to leap tall buildings in a single bound, or a mountain man, a cowboy, or a cartoon character with fellow cartoon character Jonny Quest as my best friend.

Flanagan is wrong. A parent’s role is not to affirm every notion a child thinks, says, or acts out. A parent’s role is to lovingly affirm a child in his actual, God-given identity, and to let him know that he is not a mistake or “born wrong.” It is fully possible to lovingly encourage a child’s creative imaginations while also helping him to mature and sort fact from fiction and reality from fantasy.

The constant yammering and rage of those on the left demands that somehow an imagined identity trumps a real identity. And such rage is creating what one pastor recently called a “pandemic of identity.”

Why is this such a big deal? Because when you doubt your identity, you are automatically at risk for any thing, any notion, and any ideology to step in and fill that void, and that is the basis for all spiritual, emotional and mental battles.

Before embarking on his ministry on earth, Jesus spent over a month in the wilderness fasting, praying, and being tempted by Satan. The very first thing out of the enemy’s mouth tried to undermine Jesus’ identity in His own mind. “IF you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread,” Satan says in Matthew 4. “IF you are who you say you are, then do something to prove it! IF you are all that, then be all that.” It was an attack on His identity.

But Jesus was confident in His own identity and didn’t have to DO anything. He had nothing to prove. He was already affirmed in who He was. In His case, I suspect that Jesus drew His strength from God the Father, but based on what we know about His earthly parents, I would also bet that He was lovingly affirmed by them as He grew up.

So take that as both an example and an admonition of the power of affirmation. We are in a pandemic of identity. If a child believes he is somehow in the wrong body, it is the role of a good parent, contrary to the misguided parenting advice of Minnesota’s Lt. Gov., to let that child know that he is perfect … he is the best one … there is only one like him. If a child was born a girl and likes to roughhouse and run barefoot through the woods, it likely means she is a bit of a tomboy, but is still a girl. If a little boy is slight in stature, and likes to do quiet things, it likely means he’s a wiry, smart, little dude, but he’s still a boy. And you’re not a bad parent for lovingly saying so.

We need to affirm our kids, but that does not mean we must affirm their every whim, and we certainly don’t need to affirm their concerns about their identity. We need to put an end to this pandemic of identity, and the cure is found by lovingly affirming our children, telling them they are not a mistake, and that they are fine the way they were born.

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