FAMILY FUSION: Looking at ugly characters
“Life is too short to spend hoping that the perfectly arched eyebrow or hottest new lip shade will mask an ugly heart.” – Kevyn Aucoin
We have all heard that beauty is in the eyes of the beholder; but have you ever heard of ugliness being in the eyes of the beholder? I doubt. Perhaps it is an area to explore. Webster’s Dictionary describes ugly as “unpleasant to look at: not pretty or attractive”. I have come across some ugly people in life who assumed they were very beautiful.
When I say ugly, you may be thinking of people who may not be considered physically attractive and may not make it to the front page of some of the world leading so-called “beauty” magazines. No, I am not talking about such people. I am pinpointing those whose character traits and treatment of others are far from admirable. I am centring my thoughts on the number of ugly characters parading in society who do not care about other people’s feelings. Like-minded supporters applaud these individuals for their negative conduct, and as a consequence, assist them in creating an environment of ugliness that is unhealthy for any society.
Today I am endeavouring to glance at three groups of people who I believe display ugly behaviours.
The first set of ugly people on whom I want to address are able-bodied individuals who display their ugliness toward the disabled, especially when it comes to parking. Recently I witnessed an able-bodied young man parking in one of those specially labelled spaces for the disabled.
I followed him and asked if he was aware that he had parked in a space reserved for the disabled. He appeared shocked and shortly after he went back to his vehicle and moved it to the general parking area. This man’s positive response was commendable and it also set a very good example for his young passenger.
On another occasion when a similar incident occurred, a young male driver totally ignored me and defiantly occupied the reserved parking space. This was a case of ugliness, and I was present to behold it. The young man’s behaviour reminded me of the words of the late Robin Williams: “Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.”
I observed that in some countries not only is the wheelchair sign boldly marked but also the fine for such illegal parking is clearly displayed. If violated by those whose vehicles do not carry the appropriate sign for disability, a parking ticket may be given by a parking attendant and the fine applied to such ugly people. Let us see the disabled as beautiful people and treat them with the dignity they deserve.
The second set of ugly individuals I have seen over the years are people who use their position of authority to take advantage of those committed to their trust. There are numerous people in different positions of leadership who must be admired for the high level of professionalism and moral demeanour they habitually display within their respective areas of leadership.
Those under their charge are often delighted to speak favourably of their integrity. Disappointingly, there are many other leaders whose ugly behaviour leaves a bitter taste on the tongues of those they lead and this is often reflected by the words they use to describe these leaders.
Some ministers of religion, politicians, managers, educators, attorneys, law enforcement officers and health care professionals, cannot escape an ugly label when placed under public scrutiny. It is a mistake to believe that formal education alone makes good leaders. Formal education can only fill one’s head with knowledge but true leadership requires the cultivation of character that originates from a continuous passionate desire to live a life of integrity that has at its very core, a mind that is morally sound.
I shake hands with Theodore Roosevelt who said: “To educate a person in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.” Plato, the Greek philosopher, said years before Roosevelt that “education makes good men, and good men act nobly”. Followers who desire value to be added to their lives are not looking for people of influence who possess corrupt minds and motives to lead them, but leaders whose pure character reflects itself in actions that are morally, socially, educationally and spiritually uplifting and enriching. There should be zero tolerance toward people who use their positions of power to take advantage of the weak and vulnerable. These are real ugly people.
The third ugly group contains those people who dispose garbage with little or no regard for the health of their fellow citizens. Stories are told of residents who take their garbage and throw it on other people’s property, into gullies, on the highways, in gutters, in the sea, and places other than those legally designated for garbage disposal.
What makes such people ugly in my eyes is the fact that they not only see the rubbish they created as somebody’s trouble and not theirs, but it reflects an uncaring and selfish heart toward their fellow man. Only ugly people would engage in such insensitive behaviour.
Any action or behaviour that adversely affects others or has the potential to do so, must not be condoned; it must be strongly condemned. By doing so, we will be contributing to a truly beautiful society which we all can perpetually admire.
• Reverend Haynesley Griffith is a marriage and family life consultant. Email [email protected]