Former NBA player Dwyane Wade recently made headlines by announcing his 12-year-old son has made the decision to transition into becoming a girl. Wade said he and the family fully support it.
It appears the majority of reactions praise Wade for supporting his son's sexuality. They admire him for supporting his “daughter."
We don't know how in depth if at all Zion was questioned regarding why he feels that he wants to be a girl. But we do know that from appearances, Wade and his family have gone "all in".
I have found parenting to be an exercise in love, modeling and leadership. And leadership above all else is responsibility. We are our child's first teachers. We have the ability, along with God-given instructions, to mold our children into the people they should become and to guide them in the way they should go. Sometimes parenting will require us to protect our children from themselves.
What twelve year old gets to decide their destiny?
Wade said his son came home and told him, “Dad, I'm ready to live my truth." At twelve years old a person's brain is not fully developed. Studies show the prefrontal cortex (which is the portion of the brain that activates the ability to control impulses and decision making) is still developing in our early 20's. This is one reason children and adults are treated differently in criminal justice center.
At this age, Zion could not be legally questioned without his parents being present. If he drives a car and is involved in an accident, his parents are responsible for the damages. His parents choose what school he attends. They may allow him to choose his extracurricular activities – but that is their choice. He can't even go on a school field trip without parental permission, yet they count him competent enough to make decisions regarding his gender and sexuality.
Wade said his response to his son was, “I told him (Zion) you are a leader; you are going to be a voice.” Somebody needs to tell Wade, “No, you are A leader. You are THE Parent”. The Bible says children are like” arrows," we point them in the direction we want them to go. He continued on to report that the family sought advice for how to handle their son from actors that play in a homosexual-centered, non-child appropriate television show. Yes, these are the resources utilized for information gathering.
I wonder what type of advice he would have received had he turned to spiritual and mental health leaders like T.D Jakes, Dr. Phil or Iyanla Vanzant.
Lastly, there are those critics who are saying, "It's none of our business how they parent their son." Wade and his family are the ones who made it public and shared the news so freely. This is fair game for respectful public scrutiny and discussion.
If my son came to me at twelve years old stating he wanted to identify as a female, I would:
Let him know I love him and there is nothing he could do to change that.
Have a discussion with him in an attempt to discover the roots of those feelings.
If necessary, I would seek outside support through spiritual and mental health counseling for him and the family.
Ensure that his academic and social settings promote Christian values.
Let him know that I have a God-given responsibility to provide him with direction – not worldly, not politically correct, but wise counsel.
That when he comes of age and is legally responsible for himself and more importantly, financially responsible for himself, he can live as he chooses.
I will say, “Son, you may choose a path that will grieve my heart, but I will love you no less. But while you live in my house you WILL NOT live your truth or my truth. We WILL live God's truth. And that truth is: You are (already) fearfully and wonderfully made."
Erica May is a married mother of two and a native of Memphis, Tenn. She works as a 911 operator and enjoys youth mentoring.