We get these questions often. “Can boys do some of the things in the Keepers book? Can girls do some of the things in the Contenders book?” Our answer always is, “Why, of course they can!” Now, if you asked, “Can the boys wear girls’ dresses and the girls play football?” our recommendation would be “No way!”
We firmly believe that our great Creator made males and females, and that males and females are different. Oh, you probably already knew that too. Males were and are strong protectors of their families and providers for them. Females were bearing their young and were at home with them. Men hunted and women cooked what the men caught. Men cut down trees to make homes, and women lived in the homes men built. Men went off to war; women stayed at home and took care of the young. There is a pattern here since creation, a good pattern, and God has not changed His creation, and we do not believe in changing His pattern, but that does not mean we place labels on what girls or boys can and cannot do. It is not the doing that brings the confusion; it is the role switching that is the problem.
For example, my husband is an excellent cook. Whenever we have large groups of people over, or just our large family over, he cooks. There is a funny story to this. Just last year I heard one of our granddaughters telling another that it was a good thing that Grandpa knew how to cook because Grandma didn’t. I spun around and said, “What? What did you just say?” She repeated it. I asked her why she would say that. She replied that she had never seen me cook. Well, that was true from her memory’s standpoint. She was fourteen and for all the Sunday brunches and holidays, her grandpa had done the cooking! I then informed her that I cooked the rest of the week! I did know how to cook!
Now I want you to know that I am married to a very strong, masculine man who is a leader. There is no doubt about it, and he is a wonderful cook and baker too! Plus the man knows how to read and understand instructions, and I struggle with that. I need to be shown how to do something. Many years ago, about thirty-five or so, I brought my needlework to my husband because I could not figure out the stitches. He taught me how to do needlepoint. He taught me how to thread my sewing machine. He is every inch a man, but he knows how to do things well, even my things.
I have a daughter-in-love who recently built a closet. Yes, she studded it in with 2x4s, hung the drywall, and taped and finished it. She then painted it and installed organizers, etc. This same woman is a great cook, very feminine, and artfully skilled at all forms of needlework. Oh, and a few months back she built her husband a computer workstation, which is absolutely beautiful. I said, “Where did you learn to do this?” because I know that I could not do that in a million years! Her dad taught her how. She was the oldest of two children, and one summer he was building a shed, and she was his right-hand girl. She grew up in an atmosphere where she was free to learn many things, and this has not harmed her in the least. Why? Because she knew who she was and what she was going to do in life. She was going to marry a godly man and have children and continue to walk with and serve the Lord.
Thus, at Keepers, we do want to reinforce the masculinity of males and femininity of females. We do want to reinforce God’s roles for men and women. We could not put 200 skills in one handbook, and so we did do some dividing and some overlapping. It is far better for boys to learn how to do home maintenance than to embroider, but there is nothing wrong with learning how to sew a missing button on whether you are a boy or girl. So, yes, feel free to mix things as you would like to do. Your children are your children. They are yours to teach what you wish to teach. The handbooks are wonderful guidelines and full to the brim of good things to do with your children, whether in a group setting or a family setting. Have some fun! Enjoy!