Another fact I take great pride in sharing is that the mail brain is, on average, 10 percent larger than the female brain. That statement shared with pride is quickly followed by the acknowledgement that, even though the brain is larger, chemical influences cause the boy’s brain to be a far less efficient processor than that of a girl at the same age. Once testosterone takes over the development process of a boy growing inside his mother’s womb, it makes significant changes in the function and growth of the brain.
While the male brain is 10 percent larger, it has a smaller corpus callosum. This connective tissue between the two hemispheres of the brain allows for cross talk between the two brain halves. By being smaller in boys, this puts boys at a disadvantage when it comes to things like verbalizing emotions and receiving and processing sensory information. Since the corpus callosum is larger in girls, they have better language skills and use a larger vocabulary than boys. Girls also have a better-developed sense of smell, hearing, sight, taste, and touch. Please do not misunderstand me to say that boys are inferior, because that is certainly not the case. This means only that boys have to process this information through a different and sometimes more lengthy process. Understanding these differences should affect the way you teach.
The question becomes for us as we teach and raise our children, “So what?” As church leaders and parents, what does this difference mean as you teach and help these children grow? Even though boys and girls learn a little differently, they still have the same needs. What do needs have to do with anything? Needs have a lot to do with it. When we as leaders think about specific needs of boys and girls, our approaches to teaching can actually change. Stay tuned next quarter for some specific and practical tips for you to keep in mind as you begin to think about the needs of girls and the needs of boys.
Timothy Pollard is a biblical and instructional specialist in Childhood Ministry Publishing at LifeWay Christian Resources. Timothy teaches sixth-grade boys at First Baptist Church in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee.