You Can Be Whatever You Want to Be When You Grow Up

By: Chris Johnson

In 2018, comedian Chris Rock filmed a Netflix special where he talked about attending his daughter’s high school freshman orientation.

Thankfully this bit of the transcript was fairly repeatable without my having to remove too much vulgarity: “I’m sitting there and this lady comes up and goes, ‘I want you children to know you can be anything you wanna be. You can be absolutely anything you wanna be.’ I’m like, ‘Lady, why are you lying to these children?’ Maybe four of them could be anything they wanna be. But the other 2,000 better learn how to weld.  I’m looking at these kids right now. I count at least 60 Uber drivers. They could be anything they wanna be. Shut up… Tell the kids the truth. Say, ‘Hey kids, check this out. Check this out. You can be anything you’re GOOD at. As long as they’re hiring…’”

“You can be anything you want to be” – it’s funny the way Chris Rock points it out, but it’s a deadly serious lie that kids are told thousands of times by the time they graduate, and I think it begs the question how much of the transgender nonsense we hear about today traces back to taking that little piece of encouragement a little too seriously. It used to mean if you study hard you could be an astronaut, now it means if you get enough surgery a little girl can become a boy.

What our kids need to hear is, “you can be what God made you to be.” To turn to a public figure on the opposite end of the entertainment spectrum for inspiration this time, here’s what Mr. Rogers had to say about it in an interview with Johnny Carson.

Carson asked if he ever talked about sex on Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, and Fred Rogers said this, “absolutely; that’s when they learn the difference… There’s a song called Everybody’s Fancy that I sing, ‘Some are fancy on the outside, some are fancy on the inside; everybody’s fancy, everybody’s fine; your body’s fancy and so is mine.’ But the second verse is very important: ‘Boys are boys from the beginning, girls are girls right from the start; everybody’s fancy, everybody’s fine; your body’s fancy and so is mine.’ Because sometimes children think that they might change – they might have to change after a while, and you know, we laugh about that now,” he said as the audience began to titter, “but it’s because we had that concern when we were little.”

Here Johnny Carson entered in, “yeah, and because you’re really not sure and you thought maybe you’d become a girl or a girl would become a boy, right? Happens frequently out here!,” Carson quipped about Los Angeles, where the show was filmed, back in 1980.

Mr. Rogers gave no ground to, “you can be whatever you want to be when you grow up,” at least not in the way we mean it nowadays. He emphasized the point on the episode where he introduced the song: only boys can be daddies and only girls can be mommies. He released this song, along with others, on an album. In the interview I quoted from above, you can see it clearly on Fred Rogers’ face and hear it in his voice: he knew that this was an important issue. And, being Mr. Rogers, we know that he was most concerned about how this issue would affect the children in his audience.

Rogers spoke of children’s potential “concern” that they wouldn’t know whether they were supposed to be a boy or a girl, but I’m convinced he was understating something more like terror and confusion, and what Rogers was trying to do in his sweet way was nip that confusion in the bud, set his audiences’ little feet on solid ground, and tell them they were fancy and fine the way God made them. They don’t have to take on the unimaginable pressure of deciding what they were going to be on themselves.

One would think that this statement from President Biden’s 2023 Proclamation on Transgender Day of Visibility was written in the same spirit: “Together, we also have to keep challenging the hundreds of hateful State laws that have been introduced across the country, making sure every child knows that they are made in the image of God, that they are loved, and that we are standing up for them.”

But Biden stands opposed to Mr. Rogers simple, loving position. In spite of his appeal to the words, “the image of God,” Biden lacks the understanding of what the words mean, while Fred Rogers appealed to the truth of this phrase without quoting it. The understanding that we are “all made in the image of God,” is a foundational doctrine of vital importance, but it does not mean what Joe Biden and others who quote it in support of trans ideology want to make it mean. It comes from Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the Image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God didn’t present Adam and Eve with options, He made each of them in a specific order and by a specific method, in order to communicate their specific purposes. When Adam was by himself in the garden, he was told to work and to keep: garden and guard. When Eve was created to fulfill the “goodness” of mankind, they were told together to “be fruitful and multiply” and she was named Adam’s essential helper in this task.

Being “made in God’s Image,” as Biden quoted, means the opposite of what he supports. It means we don’t get to create our own image or our own purpose. Creator owns creation. We don’t get to be “whatever we want to be when we grow up.”

Whether a man or a woman, we are what God made us, we’re either good at or bad at it. And if we’re bad it, the answer is to learn to be better, not to go be bad at something else. May our culture learn this lesson before it’s too late.


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