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Rainbow Of Diversity

One of my sons asked me the other day if I liked being tall. Without hesitation I answered “yes,” but that wasn’t always the case. Adolescence isn’t an easy time for most teens, and I was no exception. By the time I was in eighth grade, I was almost 6 feet tall and my feet were like skis. Once a cousin of my dad’s came to visit and my proud father embarrassed me to death by calling me into the room and saying, “Look at how big her feet are. Can you believe she wears a size 10 shoe!”

By today’s standards a 6-foot-tall woman isn’t that unusual, but in a small town and a small high school, I was taller than most. At that point in my life, the last thing I wanted was to be different. My dad couldn’t understand why I didn’t like being tall. He’d grab my shoulders and pull them back. “Stand tall and be proud,” he’d advise. And I did, until he was out of sight.

It took years before I decided being tall was a good thing. Now I look back and wonder how I could have been so foolish about my height (and a lot of other things).

Back then I spent way too much time focusing on my outward appearance, but so do most teens. After all, society focuses on who is the biggest, strongest, or most beautiful, instead of asking who is the kindest, most considerate, or loving.

And even though we’ve come a long way when it comes to diversity, it’s still easier for a tall man to be accepted than a tall woman. We are conditioned to believe that men and women should be a certain size, and we take notice when we see someone who doesn’t fit into those parameters. I like to think of the human race as a rainbow of sizes, shapes, and colors, each distinctly different but perfect in their own way.

“All things bright and beautiful, all creatures great and small, all things wise and wonderful, the Lord God made them all,” says the poem Maker of Heaven and Earth by Cecil Frances Alexander.

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