Something interesting happened today. I am currently in Disney World with my parents and my five-year-old niece, Ella. During some down time, I was browsing through some pictures on my computer, and Ella was looking at them. In one of the pictures, I was standing next to two women. One of the women is incredibly nice–a woman who I admire and respect, and one I consider myself lucky to be counted as her friend. The other has some issues, and I don’t trust her.
“I like her,” Ella said, pointing to the picture of the shifty lady I don’t trust much. “She’s pretty.” Then Ella pointed to my dear friend and said, “I don’t like her very much. She’s… She looks funny.”
I explained to Ella that this woman was really nice and that she helped me out a lot and that I liked her very much. I probably should have said, “Just because someone doesn’t look pretty, doesn’t mean…” You know the rest. It didn’t even dawn on me to say that.
It saddens me that this youngster’s natural reaction was to choose the more evil of the two women simply because she was prettier. I guess it make sense–especially being at Disney World. (I have watched way too many beautiful princesses dance around on stage today. For the sake of brevity, I will not go on a rant over the shallowness of the Disney’s new theme for 2008, “Where Wishes Come True.”) I also wish I was more on-the-ball to guide her thinking in the right direction.
Anyway, I hope that as Ella grows up, she will understand that “pretty” does not mean “nice” and that “ugly” does not mean “mean.” I also hope all of us will remember not to make those snap judgments about people because of their looks.