Series Code: IC
Program Code: IC180107A
00:01 The following program discusses sensitive issues
00:03 related to sexuality.
00:05 Parents are cautioned this presentation
00:07 may be too candid for younger audiences.
00:31 Welcome to Intimate Clarity.
00:32 I am Jason Bradley,
00:33 and I'm here with Jennifer Jill Schwirzer.
00:35 She is a licensed professional counselor.
00:38 And today, we're going to be discussing a sensitive topic,
00:41 but it's a conversation we need to have.
00:45 Jen, are the differences between male and female
00:48 just physical, are they psychological,
00:51 are they emotional?
00:52 What are they? What are the differences?
00:54 Good question.
00:55 Well, I talked previously about the fact
00:58 that when God created us, it says in Genesis 1:27
01:02 that, "God created man in his own image,
01:04 male and female created He them."
01:05 So right there in that verse, we see this wonderful paradox
01:09 that God created both genders good
01:12 because everything God creates is good.
01:13 So both sexes are good.
01:15 But they're also different.
01:17 So they're equal in goodness,
01:19 but they're different in the way that they function.
01:22 And that's an important paradox and attention
01:24 that we need to hold.
01:26 So in regards to the differences,
01:29 there are kind of two extremes we can go to.
01:32 I think historically, we've gone to the extreme sometimes
01:37 of accentuating the differences too much
01:40 or stereotyping the differences.
01:43 So a girl's a little more of a tomboy,
01:46 and she's told she's acting like a boy.
01:49 You know, she loves sports, she loves building,
01:51 she likes being with her daddy and working on,
01:53 you know, whatever, and she's told
01:55 she's being too much like a boy.
01:56 I don't think that's a wise thing to do.
01:59 You've got to let that child have
02:00 a certain amount of individuality within their sex
02:03 and within the typical behaviors that are,
02:06 you know, characteristic of that sex.
02:08 Little boy, you know, is born and he grows up as a child,
02:11 and he just sort of shows
02:12 a little more feminine attributes,
02:14 he likes art and he likes playing with dolls
02:16 and he's a little more feminine.
02:18 I don't think it's wise to tell that little boy
02:21 that there's something wrong with him because of that.
02:23 I think we have to leave some room.
02:24 So over-stereotyping is a problem
02:26 and it has actually set us up for the transgender movement
02:29 where if a little boy is told,
02:30 "Well, you're acting like a girl,"
02:32 he starts to think he's a girl in a boy's body.
02:35 So where do you find that balance
02:37 because it's like if you let to allow
02:40 that behavior to go on kind of thing,
02:42 then it could still develop into that transgender.
02:45 I would say not stereotyping and not overreacting
02:48 to maybe feminine traits in a boy
02:50 or masculine traits in a girl,
02:51 but then, you know, you are kind of pulling them
02:53 toward their biological sex,
02:56 and, you know, acculturating them to their biological sex
02:59 and maybe teaching them some things,
03:01 toughen the boy up a little
03:02 and help the girl be a little more ladylike.
03:05 And I'm going to get into more detail about that later,
03:07 but I think that's one extreme is over-stereotyping the sexes.
03:11 The other extreme is thinking that the only differences
03:15 are the obvious anatomical differences.
03:19 You know, you just have different parts than I do
03:23 and it ends there.
03:24 I think that's naive.
03:26 There are some general differences,
03:28 and it's really kind of fun to look at them.
03:30 I thank God that...
03:32 We were made different. Yeah.
03:34 And there are people that put together materials
03:37 that have to deal with the differences
03:38 and they are without exception very entertaining,
03:40 very enlightening.
03:41 And let me just give you some examples.
03:43 John Gray back in the 1990s wrote a book called
03:45 "Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus,"
03:47 sold millions of copies that really hit a nerve.
03:50 So the other one is
03:52 "Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Spaghetti"
03:55 because men are so compartmentalizing
03:56 women, everything touches everything else.
03:59 There's other ones, there is one
04:02 "Women are like the remote control,
04:03 men can't figure out how they work
04:05 but they keep pressing their buttons"
04:07 and "Men are like zip lock bags,
04:10 they hold everything in
04:12 but you can still see straight through them."
04:14 Those aren't real books, but, you know what I am saying?
04:16 There's a lot of things we can do that mention
04:19 the differences that really bring a lot of humor
04:21 and I don't think we should
04:23 completely disallow those things.
04:27 So I think we should avoid stereotypes,
04:29 you know what I mean by that?
04:30 We don't want to go too far
04:31 and not leave enough room for individual expression.
04:33 But then I think we can embrace generalities,
04:36 and I think they're good things.
04:38 So let me give you some examples
04:41 of how that works in a parenting context, okay?
04:44 We can see the differences at work.
04:47 In many realms,
04:48 but in particular in the family realm,
04:51 women are more naturally gifted to attune
04:54 to other people in general.
04:57 So women have these finely tuned attuned abilities,
05:01 they can read people very, very well.
05:03 A woman's intuition, that kind of thing?
05:04 That's right, that's right.
05:06 They read body language better than men.
05:08 They read facial expression better than men.
05:11 And this is by the way been tested scientifically,
05:14 and it's come up again and again.
05:15 Women are just good at reading people
05:17 and knowing what people need.
05:18 So which of the mother and father is better set up
05:22 to try to interpret the needs of a being that can't talk?
05:26 The mother.
05:28 That's her little baby
05:29 and she does a very good job of figuring out
05:30 what's wrong and how to help the baby.
05:33 Women feed babies from their own bodies.
05:35 I've never known a man
05:37 that's been able to do that yet.
05:39 Again, one of the differences
05:41 that I'm very thankful for, Jen.
05:42 I'm thankful for that. You can have that.
05:45 I don't know like it's so awesome.
05:48 I breastfed two babies, and it's just wonderful.
05:50 I've often been with my husband
05:52 put my head on his chest and I've said
05:53 "Whoa to the paps that never gave suck," you know?
05:56 But seriously because it's just...
05:57 It was a wonderful privilege.
05:59 A women can feed children from their bodies,
06:01 and I think this symbolizes the nurturing role
06:05 that women play psychologically and emotionally to children.
06:08 So they will attune to and adapt to the child
06:12 which is especially needed
06:14 in the first three years of life.
06:16 After the first three years of life,
06:17 and I'm talking generalities here again,
06:20 dad becomes a more prominent figure
06:22 in that baby's life, in that child's life
06:24 because dad plays a very important role
06:27 of stretching the child.
06:28 The mother is going to attune to
06:30 and adapt to the child,
06:32 the father is going to stretch the child.
06:34 So little boy comes to mommy, little Tommy comes,
06:36 and he's got a skinned knee and mommy is going to say,
06:39 "Oh, you have a what?"
06:41 A boo-boo, yeah, right?
06:43 She's going to talk in his language
06:45 'cause that's what women do so well.
06:46 But the dad's going to say,
06:48 "Oh you have a skinny knee, let's go fishing."
06:49 And he's not going to attune to the child as much,
06:52 he is not going to adapt to the child as much.
06:54 But he's going to stretch the child.
06:55 The child needs to be stretched.
06:57 But the child also needs a parent
06:59 that is going to connect and adapt to them.
07:02 So there's that nurturing component
07:04 and then there's that toughen up, "Let's go out
07:07 and do something else right now." component as well.
07:11 That's right, that's right. The masculinity.
07:13 And each plays their own specific role
07:16 in the life of that child,
07:17 and so what we find by and large in the research
07:20 is that the child does best
07:23 when he has a biological mother and a biological father
07:27 in the home while he's growing up.
07:28 Now I'm not saying that to hurt anyone's feelings
07:31 or to diminish the powerful parenting
07:35 that a single parent or an adoptive parent can do,
07:38 and God is always working with less than ideal.
07:40 But I think in all these things,
07:41 we need to put the ideal where it belongs,
07:44 and the reality is that God created those differences
07:47 because they function well in a world
07:51 where those differences are needed.
07:53 I would like to see more women in political leadership,
07:57 and this is the reason that
07:58 societies where women are in political leadership
08:01 tend to spend less money on war
08:03 and less money on alcohol and more money on education
08:07 and more money on children and meeting nutritional needs.
08:10 That's interesting.
08:12 And wouldn't that figure that women are more nurturing
08:14 so they're going to bring those concerns
08:16 into the political realm as well.
08:18 And I think we've paid a price for having,
08:20 you know, sort of male-dominated societies
08:22 when really a leadership team is better and more rounded
08:27 when there are both male and female influences,
08:29 now they may not serve
08:30 in the exact same capacity of leadership,
08:33 you know, and we can see somewhat of a case for that
08:36 in a church context, there's quite a lot of debate
08:38 as you know about whether women should be
08:40 in leadership in particular in clergy,
08:44 and so we're really debating that very vigorously
08:48 in our church or at least we're in recent history.
08:51 So it may be that women don't play
08:54 the exact same role as men,
08:56 but that shouldn't mean
08:57 that women are excluded entirely from leadership.
08:59 I think everyone pays a dear price for that
09:03 when there's not enough female influence in leadership.
09:07 That's a hill I'm going to die on.
09:09 Maybe not some of the other ones,
09:10 but I'm going to die on that one.
09:11 I like the idea of the balance in the home
09:14 between the male and female,
09:16 you know, having that balance between the nurturing and the,
09:22 you know, "It's going to be okay,
09:24 you're all right, toughen up,
09:26 you're going to face obstacles and hard times or whatever
09:30 and you've got to fight through it,"
09:31 you know, I like both of those aspects.
09:35 That's right, and that's God's ideal.
09:36 I think with a lot of issues in life,
09:38 we need to have an ideal
09:40 but we need to realize that God has a design,
09:44 God is the creator, but God is also the Redeemer.
09:48 And so if your life didn't adhere to that design,
09:55 it's not over.
09:56 It's part of the story
09:58 that maybe you didn't grow up in a two parent home,
10:01 maybe you grew up in a single parent home,
10:03 maybe you grew up in an adoptive home,
10:04 maybe you're in the foster system,
10:05 that's part of the story
10:07 and it's going to have an effect on you,
10:09 but it's not the entirety of the story.
10:11 The reality is that God is both the Creator and Redeemer.
10:14 We need to leave the ideal in the place
10:18 that it needs to occupy.
10:19 God's design is God's design.
10:21 This is what is, you know, his ideal.
10:24 At the same time, He's a Redeemer
10:26 and He can take that which is less than ideal.
10:29 And He can take those raw materials
10:31 and He can make a great thing out of it,
10:32 and I think a lot of people have that testimony, you know?
10:34 Absolutely, I mean you start looking at
10:36 all the people in the Bible and you look at,
10:39 you know, their situation like David
10:42 or Solomon or Samson or whoever you look at in the Bible
10:47 and you look at their stories behind it and you see
10:50 how God was able to use them in spite of themselves.
10:54 And I would add that, in parenting,
10:57 you have God's ideal of a mother and a father
11:01 in the life of that child.
11:03 But the most important ideal is that that child is loved,
11:08 and an unloving father and mother configuration
11:12 is I think worse than a single parent
11:15 that truly love their kid.
11:16 Absolutely. Yeah.
11:17 Absolutely, I would agree with that.
11:19 Would you be open to sharing just a little about your life?
11:21 I mean, haven't you been through
11:22 some stuff in your childhood
11:23 and do you have a testimony or am I asking too much?
11:26 Well, I mean, I grew up with two loving parents.
11:30 Oh, you did? Okay.
11:31 But then you know my parents got divorced
11:33 when I was at a young age and I ended up
11:36 going to this program called Banana Splits
11:39 and it was given by the school,
11:41 it was for people's parents who had split up,
11:43 they've divorced or whatever the case may be.
11:45 And at first...
11:47 Banana Splits, that's genius.
11:49 Yeah, it was a great name for it,
11:50 and it was like during lunch.
11:52 So they had food which is one of my favorites.
11:53 Of course. So I loved it.
11:54 But I didn't understand it at first.
11:58 I didn't understand the whole thing,
12:01 but as I grew older,
12:03 you know, one thing that my dad did for me
12:06 when we ended up moving to Texas
12:08 that really stood out to me is, I was living with my mom,
12:11 we moved to Texas and my dad moved to Texas...
12:15 As well. To finish raising me.
12:17 He always wanted to be in my life and be close
12:20 and he's always been there for me as a father.
12:22 I mean, he's done an exceptional job,
12:25 and so I'm so grateful for that.
12:27 Even though they didn't work out,
12:29 you know, I didn't experience,
12:30 I didn't feel that. There was a work around.
12:32 Yeah, so we're out saying, we're not putting out
12:34 this ideal to make people feel like they're doomed
12:37 if they didn't have that ideal in their life
12:39 because here we are with our broken histories
12:42 and God is able to work through that,
12:44 and I see the love shining through in your story as well,
12:46 and I love that name Banana Splits.
12:49 Banana Splits because it removed
12:51 the stigma from the kid.
12:52 You know, the kid shouldn't have to feel like a reject
12:55 because there's something that was totally out of his control
12:57 and one of the issues that arises in children of divorce
13:01 is they often blame themselves.
13:03 You know, they have this sense that they control the world.
13:07 You know, kids tend to think that way
13:09 and think that they're bigger than they really are,
13:11 and they take the responsibility
13:13 of their parents' problems on to them.
13:16 So I love that they had that nice name
13:17 that was kind of uplifting and encouraging
13:20 and they took what was
13:22 and they helped to redeem the situation.
13:23 So again, you know, love is the thing
13:25 that ultimately resonates and forms a person's character
13:29 and makes them well adjusted,
13:31 but God's ideal is the male and female together.
13:34 Absolutely. Yeah.
13:35 I mean, when we take a look at God's ideal,
13:39 you know, you go back to the garden and with diet,
13:41 with marriage between a man and woman,
13:44 the whole thing.
13:45 "Male and female created He them in His image,"
13:48 parenting team and in the church,
13:50 we need to have both male and female influence,
13:52 and we'll all be better off for it
13:54 when there's that blending.
13:57 You know, if I show you red and I say it's purple,
13:58 I'm going to be given an untruth
14:00 or blue and saying it's purple, it's not going to be true.
14:02 If I show you purple, it's a blend of red and blue.
14:05 Absolutely. Yeah.
14:06 Man, so much to cover and so little time.
14:09 I can't believe it. Yeah.
14:11 If you want more information,
14:13 make sure you go to IntimateClarity.TV.
14:16 As always, it has been a pleasure
14:18 sitting here talking to you and so glad you can join us.
14:21 Join us next time on Intimate Clarity.