Plain talk about ugliness

We tell all kids that they’re beautiful, but they know that’s not true. Not everybody is beautiful any more than everybody is tall or fast or strong. But why not tell them that they’re adored and that they do good things? Isn’t that so much better than having a good genetic handout? I know we’re preprogrammed to like pretty faces, it’s one of our stronger instincts. But we can reinforce this or we can weaken it. As every baby knows, some faces are just plain.

Mr. Hoge was born with a tumor on his face, and deformed legs.

He describes his face by asking us to imagine being in art class after the teacher has presented you with a lump of wet clay and asked you to sculpt a baby’s face. You labor and sweat, tearing off lumps, smoothing lines, shaping a nose, eyes, chin. Beautiful. Then a kid tears across the room and smashes a clay lump into the middle of the face, pushing the eyes apart.

That’s what he looked like when he was born; his parents burst into tears.

Mr. Hoge says that his mother left him in the hospital, wishing he would die. It was not until he was almost five weeks old, after a family meeting where his siblings voted for him to be brought home, that his parents returned for him. He grew up to be a political adviser to the most senior politician in his state: the Queensland premier. [link]

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