One of the recurring conversations I had with my daughters as they grew up was that I was not responsible in a direct sense for the color of their hair or eyes, their height, or whether they had natural inclinations for a particular activity that caught their interest. When we studied biology and the science of genetics, I was informed that I was one-half to blame for anything they didn’t appreciate in their appearance or talents.
My youngest, for example, was quite irate with me when, at the age of eight, she was already taller than most jockeys, so that “career” path would not be an option for her. Likewise, she had to come to terms with the fact that, in spite of her obvious talents in singing and acting, she was not likely to land leading roles if the men who were auditioning for parts were considerably shorter than she. It took all of my “mommy encouragement” to help both daughters embrace the fact that being tall was an advantage on a lot of fronts. In addition, they had to accept that there wasn’t a whole lot either of them could do about it (Luke 6:27). Now, years later, both daughters are 5’10” tall.
We are continually amazed at the comments that come from all quarters regarding their height. Comments, I might add, that if the words, “fat” or “short” were inserted would be considered the height (pardon the pun) of insult. Here are recent examples from customers at the restaurant where my youngest works. I’ll include tone of voice so you get the full picture.
Customer A: “How tall are you?” (Said in an accusative voice).
Daughter: “Oh, I’m 5’10.”
Customer A: “You look taller!” (Again, in an accusative voice).
Customer B: “Wow, you are so tall. How tall are you?”
Customer B: Blank, silent stare.
Customer C: “Is the floor in here uneven? I mean, is it higher on your side of the counter?”
Daughter: Smiles—after all what else can she do?
We get a good laugh when she shares these episodes. My husband points out that, in many cases, people say strange things when they don’t have anything to say and are trying to be funny. Whatever the reasons, it is a good thing that all those conversations of my daughter’s growing up years have left her content with the stature God had in store for her. And along the way, she is able to be gracious to those who are impolite in their comments to her and to demonstrate this grace by not being rude in response.
There is a lesson for all of us here. We should think before we make what seems to us to be innocuous comments. I have friends who have eight children who get all sorts of pointed, obnoxious questions about whether or not they are “finished,” or do they plan to create more babies. It is important to consider how comments will be received by others before making any such comments. I am not suggesting “hate speech” legislation be enacted to protect pregnant women, large families, or tall people from unfeeling remarks. This is not a matter for the civil government. This is a matter for Biblical wisdom that says you should treat others the way you would want to be treated.
“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.” (Luke 6:31)