On watching our words:
Dr. James Dobson, a child development specialist, says that children are sometimes permanently harmed by people’s attitudes towards their looks. Even at age 3 or 4, children can tell if they are beautiful or ugly. One of his patients was a 36-year-old man who told him: “I was 5 years old when I realized I was ugly, and I’ve never been the same since.”
Unhappily, most people treat children as they were beauty contest contestants, giving warmth and praise to the good-looking and ridiculing or neglecting the fat, skinny, or whatever child. The result for the latter is lifelong self-doubt & feelings of worthlessness. Nicknames like “Bucky Beaver”, “Pee Wee” or “Birdlegs” can cause harm for life.
Instead of exalting beauty, brains or accomplishment, the specialist urges adults to teach children to emphasize virtues such as diligence, patience & honesty. “It’s tough to buck the values of society as it is now.” Dr. Dobson admitted, “but teaching a child spiritual values is at least a good place to start.”