I’ve been lucky over the past couple of years that I’ve been living close enough with my family to see my niece and nephew as regularly as once a week, or more sometimes. I’m sure most people would agree that the early years of a child’s life are the most impressive. You never realize how much an individual can grow and change and learn until you see it happening in those first few years. Of course, over time, our growth process slows.
I’m sure I’ve written about my niece and nephew enough for you to know how much I love and adore them. Living so close allows me to see all the changes in their personalities and learning, as I said, and to see how different they are, as a boy and a girl. Make no mistake about it, girls and boys are different and they develop differently. I’m not saying that that means they’ll always have different interests or limited in their life’s options. It’s just an evolutionary fact, that the two sexes are different.
There are many reasons for it, and I don’t care about the reasons really. I find it fascinating to watch though. Who wouldn’t? Kids are awesome!
The very first book we ever read and discussed in my old book club was “The Female Brain”, by Louann Brizendine, M.D. She’s a neuropsychiatrist and the subject of the book is the basic differences between men and women, from birth to old age. I’m not saying I’m an expert or that I can confirm or deny any of what she’s written, but I found it a very interesting book and study. Brizendine discusses her findings with regards to the patients she’s had over the years – their identities protected of course. As a writer, I found this a useful book in some ways, as well as a good read, period. And you know me, I’m not a fan of non-fiction, so that’s saying something.
It’s not just children I find interesting when thinking of the difference between men and women. As we grow too, the differences remain obvious. I don’t just mean physically. Men and women have different thought processes and reactions to the same events and memories. No, don’t argue with me. It’s true. 😉 I’m not saying all women have the same thoughts or reactions, or all men, but you can’t deny it. I have enough men in my life and enough discussions with them that I can see and hear the differences. I’ve had enough arguments and long talks with all the women in my life to get the same from them.
I know what you might be thinking. Some of that is due to individual personalities, and you’d be right. I never form opinions about men or women simply based on their sex. Actually, I try not to form opinions about anyone, at any time until something settles it for me, in some way. 🙂
As a writer, I love to observe the differences around me, in personalities and the sexes. Speech patterns and turns of phrases are different. The way a man relates a story is different from the way a woman will. Think about the men and women in your life. When you talk to them next time, and I don’t just mean a ‘hi, how are ya’ in passing, just keep it in the back of your mind.
When I write, I try not to rely solely on the stereotypical differences between men and women. I think women can be just as inclined to be commitment-phobics as men, and men can be just as emotional as women. I remember having discussions – or debates, if you like – with a friendly reader at one time about the conversations I wrote between some of my male characters, the hockey players, to be specific. Not only were they all men in this case, but they were athletes, or ‘men’s men’ if you’ll forgive the generalization. I had written them having a certain kind of discussion, about a woman, and the reader – a man – said that conversation would never happen between two men. I had a hard time buying that. He argued endlessly with me over it and I did end up altering the conversation somewhat, to make it more believable that two men were talking about relationships. But I still had a hard time believing men would never discuss relationships with each other. Wrong or not, I disliked pigeon-holing my male characters as the kind that never discussed their relationships with friends. Who else would they talk to about it? Their mothers??? 🙂 I also don’t like to write my female characters in the same manner. I don’t want to make them only emotional basketcases or the ones constantly talking about their feelings. I hope I strike enough balance between my male and female leads to keep them interesting… and believable. What do you think?
As we’re getting ready to sit down to Easter dinner together, and with my 4 year old nephew and 18 month old niece, I wonder how they’re going to turn out in a few years. They’re constantly surprising me, every time I see them. I can’t wait to see how they continue to grow. Then again, I love them and just can’t wait to see them all the time. 😀
I hope you’re all having a lovely weekend. Take care and happy reading.