Tall Lessons from Tall People

My dad was tall. Not one of those Philistine, get the slingshot type of tall. But he was pretty tall. He once told me tall people recognize each other pretty quickly in a crowd. Let me set the stage …

Imagine if you were taller than most. Now you’re walking in a crowd – any crowd – from the masked protests in Portland to a prayer walk in DC. The crowd is moving and you are looking around. Now being taller, you see over other peoples’ heads. You’re looking at the crowns of the heads of most people. But then your eyes catch the eyes of another tall person towering over the sea of blondes, brunette, and bald people.

And you do that nod thingie – a simple bob or maybe the chin lift acknowledgement. The nonverbal, “howdy.”

My father got it from my grandmother, a tall slim country girl who loved most of her life in Mayberry, NC (yes, I know it’s fictitious – the real name is Mount Airy – more on that on another blog). She was pretty tall. But me? I’m normal I guess, even shrunk a bit since college days.

Being tall has some advantages. Giraffes eat from the top of the trees. Tall trees sticking over the dense ceiling of a forest can get the sunlight. Athletes can see over their opponents. Politicians stand out in group settings. And a tall person rarely has to get the foot ladder to reach the top shelf.

But there are disadvantages as well. Being asked to reach that top shelf all the time. Head bumps. People constantly standing on their toes around you. For teens, early growth spurts can be socially awkward in a cruel world. And tall people rarely get to be in the front in group pictures.

Goliath want the only tall person we find in scripture. King Saul was also tall. And he started out pretty popular because of it.

There are lessons we all can learn from tall people. We all need to learn these lessons, whether you are 6’7” or 4’7”.

One – it’s never okay to bully or make fun of someone because of a physical trait. This act of cruelty is wrong. And we all need to say God made each of us unique so we should be okay with that and embrace it.

Two – related to the first one, and the sad fact we do live in a world where people will cruelly make fun of others. Being tall can make one an object of derision, unwanted curiosity, or ignorant mocking. And while this can make one calloused, it can also make one more compassionate. We all need to be more caring and compassionate in a world that practices cruelty more often that kindness.

Three – we need to pay attention to our surroundings. Tall people bump their heads way more often than others. Low ceilings – light fixtures – door frames —- OUCH. So it teaches you early to pay attention. We all need to stop cruising absent mindedly through life and pay attention to what’s around us.

Four – tall people have also taught me to use the unique characteristics God had given each one of us. Being tall allows one to help shorter people reach to shelves. Being short allow you to reach the lower shelves and lift up items to tall people. Together, there is a synergy. Maybe you’re a good speaker, use it. Easy to get along with? Team motivator! Me, I help people laugh – not the stand up comedy show type, just not take life so serious. We all need to use our strengths to help others.

So, tall or short, it is okay. God made you very special. So use it!

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