Pink Or Blue: How To Handle Your Child`s Confused Gender Identity

Psychologists are often asked by anxious parents if it is normal for their little boy to play with dolls, or for their girl to be so interested in cars and other toys supposedly reserved for boys. Often the parents worry that the tendency to play with transgender toys will result in later sexual identity issues. 

Typical gender behaviour   
Gender socialisation teaches children appropriate gender behaviour as prescribed by their parents and community. Baby boys are dressed in blue and are given cars to play with, whilst ‘princesses’ are surrounded with pink outfits, Barbie dolls and pastel decor.
Research showed that toys bought for girls tend to be round and pink, while toys for boys tend to be angular and blue. Parents also expose children to gender appropriate activities like ballet or karate, and serve as primary gender role models – often verbalising their gender ideals and expectations.
Interestingly one study on infants of 12-24 months showed baby girls spending more time looking at dolls, whilst baby boys spent more time looking at cars. Most children also prefer same-sex play mates, and choose those with
similar play styles. It is common for girls to engage in more nurturing and
mothering type play, while boys show greater preference for rough-and-tumble activities.
However, it is also very common for girls and boys to prefer opposite-sex playmates and to engage in gender atypical play styles. In our society where gender roles have become less rigidly defined, it is quite the norm for children of both sexes to play the same games. Small children who are still learning about their place in the world also ‘test’ the different gender roles through imaginative play – a normal process in trying to understand how the world around them works.
Parenting little boy pink and the reluctant princess
Parents should accept early transgender play as a normal developmental stage and support children in expressing these interests at home in an age appropriate manner.
Unfortunately fear and ignorance surrounds this behaviour and has resulted in many a father angrily calling his son a ‘sissy’ for wanting to play with his sister’s dolls. Mothers also sometimes feel uncomfortable with the ‘tomboy’ behaviour of girls. Often parents fear possible homosexuality, and in their anxious attempts to rectify it they bestow a derogative label, thus communicating non-acceptance and rejection.
It not only leads to broken relationships, but for some children to later question their own sexual identity. Parents should refrain from overreacting and remember that their little boy will one day be a father who will have to nurture his own children, so changing the doll’s diaper is really not so inappropriate at all! 

Persistent nonconformity
When prepubescent children display more persistent gender nonconformance, together with a strong identification with the opposite sex, it could be indicative of more than just a normal developmental stage. Nonconforming is expressed in behaviour/attitudes like cross gender clothing, identification with characters of the opposite sex in stories, and expressing a strong desire to be a member of the opposite sex.
Gender Identity Disorder is diagnosed when in addition to the above, a child experiences discomfort, confusion, or aversion to his/her physical sex and gender role. It is important to note though that of those who have been diagnosed with GID in childhood, only about a third will still display gender identity issues in adolescence.

Gender and religion
In Biblical Scriptures, the roles of men and women differ significantly. As parents we should remember that we (and our children) were created in the image of God, and that God the Father represents both the male ‘fatherhood’ characteristics as well as the nurturing ‘motherhood’ characteristics. We are called to love and support our children.

The Bible gives us guidelines for Biblical masculinity and feminimity that we can impart to our children. God will give you wisdom how to direct and parent your child.
ROCHÉ SNYMAN is a Counselling Psychologist and lecturer at the ICP.  For counselling or studies in Christian Psychology call 011 827 7611 or see

Why Terrorism Will Never Cease Against The West

When news broke that two young brothers had detonated deadly bombs at the Boston Marathon, bringing the world’s news networks to a standstill and terrorising the largest city of Massachusetts, we all wondered the same thing: Why? What would have possessed  19 year old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a ‘naturalised’ US citizen of Chechneyan descent to embark on a rampage of violence with his brother, slain boxer, Tamerlan?
What is the motive for terror?
The reason for the boys’ motive to terrorise America is intricately complex, however one common thread underpins many of the 21 000 incidents of terror since 9/11. Radical Islam.
The words we all hesitate to utter for fear of retribution and recrimination. Sadly, the jihadist ideology of Islam influences most of the terrorist attacks committed against the US, other Western nations, Northern Nigeria, Kenya and Tanzania, etc and cannot be ignored as the direct catalyst for acts of terror. Again, we ask: why?
A fundamental principle of belief
It is true that there are some positive principles of good espoused by Islam (such as to  take care of the poor) and that there are many lovely, sincere Muslim people who desire to live at peace with their neighbours and those of other religions. However, a fundamental practice of the religion is that of jihad (a noun meaning “struggle”).
There are two commonly accepted meanings of jihad: an inner spiritual struggle and an outer physical struggle. The “greater jihad” is the inner struggle by a believer to fulfil his religious duties. 
The “lesser jihad” is the physical struggle against the enemies of Islam. This physical struggle can take a violent form or a non-violent form. (Which explains why some Muslims say it is a peaceful religion and others clearly exhibit why it is a violent one).
The proponents of the violent form translate jihad as “holy war”. This form of jihad takes the form of wars (or attacks) against unbelievers, apostates, and dissenters renouncing the authority of Islam – and we see this daily in parts of North Africa, India, Pakistan, Indonesia and the Middle East.
A misunderstanding of the Qu’ran
So why would the West (which is for the most part non-Muslim) be a specific target for acts of terror and Jihad then? And why too, given this ideological practice of Jihad, would prominent political and religious leaders (such as Barack Obama) continue to espouse that the teachings of Muhammad and Islam had no bearings on the actions of these terrorists?
Conspiracy theories and political agendas aside, a key reason would be a misunderstanding of what the Qur’an actually says.
Quoting verses out of context
According to Christian Apologist and Islam analyst, David Wood, this is a common occurrence. Wood posted a video online that offered an analysis of the motives for the bombings – which was removed from YouTube by officials days later. Here follows a brief synopsis of what he explained:
“Following the Boston bombings, both Obama and an Imam at an interfaith prayer meeting recounted the following: “The Qur’an teaches that whoever kills an innocent, it is as if he has killed all of mankind”. The verse they refer to (out of context) is Surah 5:32.
The punishment of “evil-doers”
Here is what it actually says: “For this reason did we prescribe to the children of Israel that whoever slays a soul, unless it be for manslaughter or for mischief in the land, it is as though he slew all men and whoever keeps it alive, is as though he kept alive all men; and certainly our apostles came to them with clear arguments, but even after that many of them certainly act extravagantly in the land”.
Now read the next verse (prescribed to the Muslims): “The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His Apostle (Muhammad) and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world; and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement.”
A plausible reason for the attacks
What is considered  ‘mischief’ then? Namely apostasy, preaching a religion other than Islam, adultery, becoming “too Westernised” and violating Sharia.
The most extreme form of ‘mischief’ is bringing a non-Muslim military into a Muslim country to interfere in the affairs of state – an act definitely deserving of death. Perhaps this could have been the reason why United States Army Medical Corps officer Nidal Malik Hasan shot and killed many of his fellow American soldiers heading to Afghanistan in 2009?
They were going to Afghanistan to make ‘mischief’ in a Muslim land. (Interestingly, the US government labelled it as workplace violence, aggravated by Hasan’s mental state).”
For Wood, “[Hasan’s actions, and those of other terrorists like the  Boston bombers], is perfectly obvious from the text whereby Surah 5:33 advocates terrorism and killing civilians.
In Islam the people who go out to fight in battle are not the only people responsible for the battle. According to Muhammad, those who fund the military (those who pay the bills) are equally responsible for the fighting that takes place.
There is an American military presence in various Muslim countries – what’s the penalty? Death. But who pays for the American Military to be in those countries? That would be the American tax payer. Thus the average US civilian citizen is just as responsible for causing problems in the Muslim countries as the US soldiers fighting in those nations. So, what is their penalty? Death. Do you see now why such terrorists will not hesitate to kill American civilians?”
Why the West will remain a target
Wood further states that: “According to Barack Obama “the partnership between America and Islam must be based on what Islam is and not what it is not”. The media believes that Islam condemns the killing of innocents. But who here is innocent according to the Qur’an?
Some uninformed think that Islam forbids the terrorist attacks of those in 9/11, as even Muslims were killed in the attacks! But what kind of Muslims? They were Muslims who worked with infidels and paid taxes to a government that’s at war in Muslim lands, the kind of Muslim that the Qur’an repeatedly refers to as “hypocrites”.
Notably,  not wanting to pay taxes to support Western Government is part of the reason why Jihadists in the UK would rather go on state support (the Dole) than work and have to pay taxes.” One wonders why analysts do not explore these facts further…
Political correctness misleads us
Wood concludes that: “Our leaders and our media, after years of terrorist attacks, continue to completely ignore the bloody implications of Surah 5:33 (which was ordained for Muslims) and to instead reference to the verse before it, (which was ordained for Jews).
They have ripped Surah 5:32 out of its Jewish context and they quote part of what remains in an effort to convince us that Islam condemns the sort of violence that the very next verse commands Muslims to commit.“
What is truly being said
Again one asks why would they do that? In our politically correct world, members of the media and commentators often seek to distance Islam from so many acts of horrific violence, using terms of distinction such as “radical Islam” or “moderate Islam” and so on. But let us reflect on the words of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the close friend of Iran’s terroristic president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
In reply to the term “moderate Islam,” which was apparently quoted to him by a Western journalist, Erdoğan said: “These descriptions are very ugly, it is offensive and an insult to our religion. There is no moderate or immoderate Islam. Islam is Islam, and that’s it.”
Surah 8:12:  “…I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.”
Surah 8:60: “Infidels [disbelievers or non-Muslims] should not think that they can get away from us. Prepare against them whatever arms and weaponry you can muster so that you may terrorise them.”

We remind all Christians to love their neighbour and to reach out in love to fellow Muslims. Strive to live at peace with others (Heb 12:14) and to preach the Truth in love. 

Is There Hope For A Fallen Hero?

The term ‘underdog’ is often used in sports. It originated in the 19th Century, a time when dogfights were a spectator sport in America and Great Britain.
Back then, the winning dog was referred to as the ‘top dog.’ The losing dog was
typically on the bottom during the match and tagged the ‘under dog.’ Today the term is so widespread in the English-speaking world that it is simply one word: underdog.
Our fallen hero
Recently, international news has been filled with the tragic story of South African paralympian Oscar Pistorious, who is being charged with the murder of his girlfriend.
In America, Lance Armstrong’s at-tempt to come-clean by announcing to a world-wide audience with Oprah Winfrey that he had indeed been using sports enhancing drugs, while vehemently denying the accusations for years, was
received with bitter disappointment.
Against all odds
Here we have two underdog-types. Armstrong was diagnosed with cancer and defeated the disease, prompting him to start Livestrong Foundation and raise millions of dollars and awareness toward the prevention of cancer and other diseases humans face. And the world loved him for it.
In Pistorious we have the ultimate underdog story. Oscar’s legs were amputated below the knee at just eleven months old. Overcoming his physical limitations and public perception, he competed in several sports as a youth in his hometown. As he grew older and focused his athletic ability on the track field, through the aid of prosthetics specially fitted for him, the ‘Blade Runner’ exploded into the 2012 London Olympics competing against the world’s fastest able-bodied athletes. The world immediately gravitated toward rooting for this young man.

A life in the spotlight
Being in the public eye with such intense scrutiny is something neither Armstrong nor Pistorious would have wanted. For the former, the desire to win-at-all-costs drove Armstrong to misuse the gifts, platform and influence God gave to him.
The jury is still out on Pistorious’  trial. Yet as the story of his life begins to unfold, we begin to get a clearer understanding into the mind of those who have had to fight back from extreme circumstances and the environments in which they were birthed and lived in.
I can’t begin to understand all of the factors in this tragic story and I will not try to interpret them. But what I can offer is a great perspective for the rest of us on how underdogs can make comebacks.

Making a comeback
If you’ve ever made bad choices in your personal or professional life, the great news is that it is not over. There’s still hope and a way back. You may not get back to where you once were at the speed you desire.
Additionally, you may end up in a totally different and unexpected place.
But I believe that the greatest factor to making a comeback (which automatically qualifies you as an underdog), is sincere repentance before God. Scripture tells us that it is God’s kindness that leads us to repentance (Romans 2:4). When we humble ourselves before Him, we not only receive forgiveness but we place ourselves back on the right track to making a comeback.

Alter your thinking
It begins with our behaviour and the way we think. The way we operate after the mistake makes all the difference. We can relate our failures to the burying of the talents (the parable told by Jesus in Matthew 25:14-30) where one servant multiplied the money and gift given to him, whilst the other buried it.
To take it one step further, the misuse and reckless behaviour of the use of those talents has consequences as well. In the end, we can lose it and it can and will be given to someone else. An opportunity meant for you can be passed on to someone else.
As we learn and reflect on the anatomy of our mistakes and then focus on the process of our comeback, the Lord will restore us in different ways. King David cried out to the Lord to restore him (Psalm 51:12) after his greatest failure. And God did restore him.
Additionally, David asked the Lord to “make me willing to obey You” and to “renew a right spirit within me.”  We will do well to follow David’s repentance and his plan for restoration.
Ultimately, one day, our highest hope is to hear the greatest affirmation from the Lord, recorded in Matthew 25:21: “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your Master’s happiness!”
Every human on this earth has potential to be all they were created for, but for one reason or another, either fails to attain it or, they become all that the Lord created them to be. Potential is always there.
Becoming all God intended
So what’s your potential? What can you do with the life you’ve been given, whether it’s one, two or five talents? Because it doesn’t matter what you’ve been given. What matters is what you do with what you’ve got. Faithfulness, stewardship, multiplication… That’s the ‘pound for pound’ principle.

Be a champion!
No matter your current circumstance, use the talents and gifts God has given you to be the best in your ‘weight class.’ Start right where you are. Do the very best with what He has given you and you will achieve and become the best version of you in this season.
My prayer is that whether you are a pastor, businessperson, leader, housewife, student, non-profit founder, almost anyone – you’ll be inspired to take what you have and use it to your best ability.
And, remember this: all the defeats, trials, and frustrations you have endured, all of it, has been the Lord’s way of increasing your capacity and ability to handle exactly what’s in front of you. You’re not an underdog, you can be God’s champion. 

By: Mike Kai, founding pastor of Hope Chapel West Oahu in Hawaii and author of ‘The Pound for Pound Principle: Becoming All God Designed You to Be’ (Authentic Publishers) – available for purchase from

Stormie Omartian: The Power of Prayer

With an unusual name like Stormie, it is mildly ironic, if not a bit prophetic that this beautiful and talented author grew up in a tumultuous household. Today, Stormie is widely acclaimed as a New York Times best-selling author (she spent many years in the entertainment industry singing and even recording aerobics videos!), but for Stormie, the successes and the blessings would never have happened without the Lord’s grace, and the power of prayer.
“I was raised by a mentally ill mother who was very abusive and kept me locked in a closet for much of my early childhood.
My dad worked long hours and when he was home he was so exhausted and passive, that I didn’t feel he was there for me as a protector from my mother. As a result, I grew up with a lot of depression, fear, anger, feelings of hopelessness and rejection.”
A past filled with pain
“I tried everything I knew to get out of that emotional closet of pain: alcohol, drugs, unhealthy relationships and the occult and eastern religions. But these things gave me nothing more than a temporary relief. I soon grew suicidal.
At the same time my friend, Terry, with whom I had been singing on television and doing recordings, said to me, “I can see you are not doing well Stormie. Why don’t you come with me to meet my pastor.” When I hesitated, she pushed a little harder. “What have you got to lose?” she asked. I had no rebuttal, so I agreed to go with her. She arranged for the three of us to meet for lunch a few days later.”
Surrendering all to Jesus
“When I met Pastor Jack Hayford, he talked to me about Jesus in a way that made Him sound amazingly real and very much like a close and loving friend. He helped me
understand that most of my problems existed because I was separated from God and the only way to bridge that separation was to receive Jesus as my Saviour.
If I did that, then God would put His Holy Spirit in my heart and I would never again be distant from Him. If I surrendered my life to the Lord, He would change me from the inside out and help me become all He created me to be. [Following that meeting I read a few books Jack gave me and met with him again to surrender my life to Jesus] and received the forgiveness and grace of God. Immediately I noticed a difference in my life. I had a feeling of peace, of being accepted, of being cleansed from all my past failures.“
A new creation in Christ
“I felt love, joy, and hope for the first time. I also had a growing sense of purpose, and I began to see a future for my life. As I grew in God’s Word, I learned to walk in His ways. I became better able to make right choices.
With the Holy Spirit’s leading and en-ablement, I could resist falling back into old habits of doing things that were not God’s will for my life. As I moved into the liberty He had for me, I gradually became free from depression, anxiety, and fear.”
Stepping into her destiny
“I learned about the power of prayer and the great things that can happen when we pray. I learned about the importance of worshiping and praising God and the transformation that takes place in our souls when it becomes our priority. I learned that the more I obeyed God, the more I changed.
In fact, God changed me and my life so much over the years that today I hardly recognise myself from the person I used to be!”
Recognising the power of prayer
For Stormie, experiencing the life-changing presence of God, and the power of sincere prayer, has become so integral to her life, that it has formed her ministry (through all the books she writes on prayer). “What the Lord did in me, He can do in anyone. That’s why my goal in life is to help others find that same freedom, healing, restoration, fulfilment, and purpose that I have found.”
A key focus of Stormie’s writing has been teaching people how to pray – for their spouse, their children, themselves and their situations. Stormie doesn’t just write from a set of ideals and principles, but from her experience – she is remarkably candid and transparent about her life.
Seeing God change circumstances
“[In my early years] my husband and I had problems in our marriage and at its worst point, I prayed for a miracle. God impressed upon my heart that I was to stop praying my favourite prayer” “Change him Lord!”, but began to pray every day for Michael, like I had never prayed before.
Each time, though, I had to confess my own hardness of heart. I saw how deeply hurt and unforgiving of him I was. I didn’t want to pray for Michael. I didn’t want to ask God to bless him. I only wanted God to strike his heart and convict him of how cruel he had been. I had to say over and over, “God, I confess my unforgiveness.”
Praying for positive change
“Little by little, I began to see changes occur in both of us. When Michael became angry, instead of reacting negatively, I prayed for him. I asked God to give me insight into what was causing his rage. He did. I asked Him what I could do to make things better. The Lord showed me.
Every day, prayer built something positive. We’re still not perfected, but we’ve come a long way. It hasn’t been easy, yet I’m convinced that God’s way is worth the effort it takes to walk in it. It’s the only way to save a marriage.
A wife’s prayers for her husband have a far greater effect on him than anyone else’s, even his mother’s (sorry Mom!). They are a team, one unit, unified in spirit. The strength of a man and wife joined together in God’s sight is far greater than the sum of the strengths of each of the two individuals. That’s because the Holy Spirit unites them and gives added power to their prayers.”
The key to victory in your life
For Stormie, prayer is an essential daily discipline of the Christian’s life that cannot be ignored. “There is so much at stake if we don’t pray. Can you imagine praying for the right side of your body and not the left? If the left side is not sustained and protected and it falls, it’s going to bring down the right side with it. The same is true of you and your husband, your family and our world.”
One cannot do it alone, in fact Stormie’s advice is that, “the best thing for my marriage [and life] is to have women prayer partners with whom I pray every week. If you can find two or more strong, faith-filled people whom you thoroughly trust, and with whom you can share the longings of your heart, set up a weekly prayer time. It will change your life!”  
—by Jackie Georgiou

Have I Missed God`s Will?

Often when people say God has not revealed His will for their lives, what they really mean is that they have not heard an audible voice from Heaven.

Of course there are moments when God speaks in very dramatic ways, but more often than not, God reveals His will in a much less extravagant fashion, and it often unfolds slowly, layer by layer over time rather than in a single, earth-shattering epiphany.

One step at a time
Consider Abraham, the father of the Israelite nation, whom God called to “get out of your country, from your family, and from your father’s house, to the Land that I will show you.” Gen 12:1. The Lord asked Abraham to leave every-thing familiar for something completely unknown. God’s call to Abraham did not include specific coordinates, just a call to go. As Abraham obeyed, the Lord revealed His plan one step at a time.

If God revealed His ultimate plan for our lives from the beginning, we would often find ourselves chasing a dream rather than following Him.

The Lord is our reward
God didn’t want to just send Abraham to his inheritance, He wanted to lead him there. In following the Lord, Abraham made an amazing discovery. The land and the legacy that God would give him was something wonderful indeed, but there was another reward that would make all others pale in comparison. “Abram,” the Lord says, “I am…your exceedingly great Reward.” Gen 15:1.

Fulfilling God’s will
If you think you have it all figured out and you know exactly where God is going to take you and how He’s going to get you there, be prepared for disappointment. The Lord’s will is never revealed in such a way that it negates our need for dependence upon Him. Ultimately whether or not we fulfil God’s will for our lives depends on whether or not we follow Him. In the end we will all discover that the real prize was not the perfect career, wonderful spouse, or right education. The real reward for following God is God Himself.

Stepping forward in obedience
The full revelation of God’s will rarely comes as a sudden epiphany. He calls to us to see if we will follow even without knowing all the details. When He sees that we take a step of obedience, then He gives us the next step.

Recently in an interview I was asked how God had shown me that it was His will for me to be doing what I am doing in ministry. I think the interviewer was hoping to hear that I had a vision, a dream, or heard an audible voice that gave me specific instructions. But my answer was quite different.

I told him that as I look back on the sequence of miraculous events that have brought me to the place where I am now, the hand of God and His divine orchestration are quite evident.

Be faithful with the small things
The Lord never told me this was coming, and it never would have entered into my wildest dreams. But as I obeyed God’s call one step at a time, His plan and purpose unfolded, layer by layer, with many confirmations along the way. I have found that this is usually the way God reveals His plan.

Jesus laid out a principle in Luke 16:10 that is absolutely essential in the quest to discover God’s will for our lives. Jesus said: “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much: and he that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.”

God calls us to small things before He calls us to great things. Many people want God to speak audibly from Heaven and give them direction, yet they aren’t following the small directions they already have. If you aren’t being faithful in the small things, why should God entrust you with more important things?

Trusting the perfect engineer
When you think about God’s call and will for your life, don’t think so much in terms of where you will eventually end up or what you will ultimately do. Instead think in terms of what God’s will is for you right now. What is in your hand? What does He want from you today?

As you follow Him in obedience day-by-day, the picture will become clearer and He will entrust you with more and more.

Eventually the day will come when you will look back on the many steps you took in faith and obedience, and you will see how the Lord carefully and strategically orchestrated each one in a way you never could have engineered in your own strength or wisdom. 

DANIEL KOLENDA  is the president and CEO of Christ for All Nations Ministries international. For more information or to purchase some of their resources: 021 556 0748  or