Trading Places: You Must be Joking

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a member of the opposite sex for a day?

Just when I finally quit trying to be more like my logical husband, someone asks this ridiculous question. Finally I have embraced that I am a woman who is an intuitive, creative, feeling, perceptive sort of person who is also a circular thinker. I am content, now, to drive my husband crazy.

Vive la différence.

When I was little, I thought that boys were loud and generally obnoxious. Harsh, I know, but their testosterone driven aggression and rough play were so foreign to my own temperament, that I considered them to be practically an alien race of beings. I have never wanted to morph into a boy or man because being female is an intrinsic part of who I am.

So, please, do not try to tell me that little boys and men are just socially conditioned to behave in a different way than little girls or women. I loudly declare that, even as babies, little boys are intrinsically different from little girls and I celebrate that difference with joy. The fact is that the differences between the sexes is an example of nature not nurture.

Since I grew up with only one sister, my boys constantly surprised me. As toddlers, my three sons would stare at wheels turning as they ran toy cars back and forth again and again, totally engaged in this repetitious action. I simply watched with my mouth hanging open. It was an inborn obsession that developed into any machine that had wheels. Tricycles, bicycles, wagons, lawn tractors, cars and trucks were not only driven but also examined in minute detail. The boys turned bikes upside down to check wheels, fill tires and fiddle with the gears. Even more hours went by with my sons’ heads stuck under the hood of a car. My boys also seemed born with the ability to drive anything with an engine. While the girls struggled to learn how to drive cars (just ask their frustrated father), the boys learned effortlessly.

I did try to draw out the ‘feminine’ side of my boys. For example, one day Matthew was about four or five when he asked for his sister’s water proof doll. I was so pleased. I thought,

“Yes! I have raised a son with nurturing instincts!”

When I came back into the bathroom a few minutes later, the head was off the doll and he was holding the rubber tubing connecting the doll’s mouth to its bottom. Matthew was making loud machine noises as he lowered the head into the water, filled it, slowly lifted his self-made swinging bucket and then swung the head around like a crane, pouring water into a plastic pail. Matthew’s actions startled me. I started to laugh at my son, my efforts to change him and this whole nature versus nurture controversy.

I celebrate the glorious difference between men and women, husbands and wives, mothers and fathers.

Vive la différence.


About melanie jean juneau

Melanie Jean Juneau serves as the Editor in Chief of Catholic Stand. She is a mother of nine children who has edited her kid's university term papers for over a decade. She blogs at joy of nine9 and mother of nine9. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought-provoking. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life. Melanie is the administrator of ACWB, a columnist at CatholicLane, CatholicStand, Catholic365 , CAPC, author of Echoes of the Divine and Oopsy Daisy, and coauthor of Love Rebel: Reclaiming Motherhood.

16 comments on “Trading Places: You Must be Joking

  1. I celebrate those differences too – but women still have to continually “sell” themselves and their ideas harder than a man does. Or maybe it is just in my tiny midwest town where women are still not appreciated for their minds on the same level as a man. 😦

  2. I am certain that testosterone plays no part in the behavior of small boys. They are about ten years away from all that, but your point is nonetheless valid. Boys and girls are intrinsically different from the off as you have observed and any attempt to alter that behavior can only cause trauma. Many fathers cause irreparable damage to their sons by trying to get them to ‘man up’, scorning their quiet natures as ‘soft’ and forcing them into ‘manly’ pursuits (boxing, for instance).

  3. […] I read an interesting article on the Community Storyboard – you can find the original article here […]

  4. I’m at a school where the women teachers forbid the boys to play-fight. They actually punish them if they rough-and-tumble. Sometimes boys’ play-fighting can be really rough. It’s Nature’s way of them testing and learning where the limits are. Watch every baby mammal in the world play – kittens, puppies… When these punished boys grow up, not knowing their limits, they will punch too hard.

  5. I grew up as the youngest child with four older brothers so if it really were only “nurture” that mattered then I would totally be a guy right now. I played with Ninja Turtles and wrestled and watched Jean Claude Van Damme movies my whole life and yet I’m about as female as they come.

  6. I don’t have kids…
    I don’t know…I guess just letting kids just be kids, not worrying if they were playing with dolls or trucks…and wanting them to be decent and kind is all that matters 🙂

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