How do we teach girls and boys they are equal?
A little girl wrote a letter to God, asking, "Dear God, are boys better than girls? I know you're one but try to be fair." This little girl has internalized messages that church and society value males more than females. Feeling put down, she appeals to the highest authority she knows. But she has learned that God is male from seeing pictures of God as only male and hearing God referred to as only male. So she wonders if God can be truly fair. She wonders if a "He" God can think girls are as good as boys? To teach girls and boys they are equal, we have to call God "She" as well as "He."
Girls and boys will learn that they are created equally in the divine image when we give them female and male pictures and names for Deity. Girls and boys will learn they are equal when they see women and men serving equally as pastors and priests and laypeople in the church. Girls and boys will learn they are equal when they have equal opportunities to use their gifts, instead of learning that some jobs are for "boys only" or for "girls only." Girls and boys will learn they are equal when they hear themselves included equally in all language used in the church. Children learn equality when we tell them stories that highlight girls as well as boys, using female as well as male role models of various races. Girls and boys learn they are equal when the biblical examples we give them include as many women as men. Through pictures, songs, prayers, stories, and actions that give equal value to females and males of all races and abilities, we teach girls and boys they are equal.
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