Parenting Styles

He Has a Huge What?!

So many people, it seems, put a premium on looks. This is especially true for teens and young adults. There is this idea that good looks somehow makes someone better than someone who isn’t as good looking.

Teenagers are particularly prone to this preoccupation with looks, probably because they are impressionable and want to fit in. All the popular kids always seem to be the good looking ones and the kids who look a little “different” are often labeled as geeks, nerds, or just plain ugly.

Considering all the bullying the teasing she has received over the years for being overweight or supposedly ugly, it would be easier for her to crawel into a hole and ignore other kids at school. Instead, she is member of the Thesipian Socity, Show Choir and in the Drama Club. She doesn’t hesitate to talk to someone if she likes them

A normal routine at our home is that when my 16 year old daughter, LV, gets home, we all sit around the table and she gives us a rundown of her day. Since she is so involved this the above activities, there is a lot of talk about those activities and the people involved with them.

One night last week, LV was telling us about this guy she really likes who is involved with the theater at school. She told some antidotes about how funny and charming he is. Then she went into how cute she thought he was. She started on about his hair and eyes, etc.

I really wasn’t too interested in his looks, plus I’ve met him and I know what he looks like. As long as LV likes him, that’s good enough for me. So while this was going on, I decided to clean the kitchen and had stepped into the hallway to throw some trash away. It was then that I heard my daughter say the following, which made me spin around and ask her if I had heard her right:

“He has a huge brain!”

11228678215_8f21d31585by vaughnfender

I was pleasantly surprised at how plainly she said it; as if it was the most important thing of all about this boy. And to her, it is. Talk about a father’s pride!.

This is just one example of my daughter’s awesomeness (there are more here and here). What really makes me proud about this is that I have tried very consciously to instill in my kids the idea that what’s important about a person is what is inside. Height, weight, gender, race, nationality, deformities, whatever, these aren’t things that should make any difference to how you treat someone.

With the emphasis that society puts on good looks, it is refreshing to see that some teens have learned to ignore that and accept themselves and others as is, for who they are, not what they look like.

Featured image by lwtclearningcommons


Jay is a dad, husband, and pet lover. He has a degree in Theater Arts and works as a Unix systems administrator, mainly because he has a degree in Theater Arts. He used to be a single dad, but now he is married to the perfect woman. He has two teenagers, a daughter, and a step-son. He also has an adult son. He shares his home with his wife, kids, an Australian Shepherd, and a bevy of adorable chihuahuas. He is a skeptic and humanist and tries to contribute to spreading rationality by writing about skeptical topics. You can find samples of his writing on his personal blog at Freethinking For Dummies, the JREF blog, and in Skeptical Inquirer magazine.

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  1. Mo, our 3 year old, has started this thing where she gives complements, usually based on people’s clothes – “Mommy, I really like your shirt. Daddy, I really like your sweater.” That sort of thing. I almost always follow up with “Mo, I really like your brain.” This made me think of that – congrats on your own daughter’s awesome brain!

  2. As a high school teacher, I’ve long been fascinated by the number of couples in our school who follow the “ambitious girl dating a hapless guy” pattern. I don’t know if it’s because of the “smart mom, spacey dad” sitcom trope, or that the girls have been socialized to take care of people or what. It doesn’t even seem to matter how academically bright the boy is, as long as he’s not reaching his potential. It’s . . . odd. I hope two things for the kids: first, that the girls don’t keep the caretaker pattern going for too long, and second, that the boys don’t learn to be helpless without a girl in their lives.

    I must admit, though, even though intelligence is a huge part of what attracts me to a person, I have dated more than my fair share of lost boys (and men). Perhaps this isn’t a new phenomenon at all. Hmmm.

    1. Most of my friends growing up were female. Most of them, when they had a boyfriend, would complain about how he treated them. When I would suggest that they find someone who treats them better, they would almost always say something to the effect that they were sure they could change him.

      I think it is something very old.

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