My brand new, completely unrealistic, possibly supercilious goal that you should try, too.

I saw a middle-aged man yesterday wearing a pink shirt that didn’t quite cover his belly, a pair of yellow shorts, work boots without laces and no socks. I turned to comment on his appearance to my wife, but then I stopped myself.

We have no right or reason to think less of a person because of their physical appearance.

We have no right or reason to speak poorly of a person because of their physical appearance.

A person should be able to wear whatever he or she wants without ever having to suffer a negative word about it from anyone, to their face or behind their back.


I have a policy to never comment on the physical appearance of a student, and I have managed to adhere to this rule for a long, long time. I’d like to think that I could apply a similar rule in the rest of my life. While I have no reason to avoid complimenting adults on their physical appearance, I’d like to think that I could refrain from negative comments of any kind at all times.

I know this is unrealistic. Even if I can ignore a person’s odd combination of clothing (and I usually can), there are so many other aspects of a person’s physical appearance that might illicit a negative comment.

Unusual haircuts. Numerous tattoos. Excessive plastic surgery. Gaudy jewelry. Ostentatious displays of designer labels. Bizarre piercings. Overdone makeup. Stupid little alligators embroidered over the right breast.

The list is endless.

Still, I’ve decided that I’m going to try. This is my goal.

It may seem ridiculous, supercilious, unnecessary or even stupid, but I also think it’s the right thing to do, and the right thing trumps ridiculous, supercilious, unnecessary, stupid, and everything else, every time.

I certainly don’t expect to be able to stop thinking these ugly thoughts about the physical appearance of others. I will try my best, but I’m not capable of miracles.

But we are all capable of keeping our mouths shut when one of those ugly thoughts enters our minds, as I managed to do yesterday.

This is my goal. When one of those ugly thoughts about a person’s physical appearance enters my mind, I will keep my mouth shut.

It won’t be easy, but as I’ve said before, the easy thing and the right thing are rarely the same thing.