Raising a Short but Mighty Girl in a Tall World

As a society, we are trained to perceive that privilege, power and height go hand-in-hand. There are hundreds of studies that prove that taller employees make higher salaries than their shorter counterparts, and when it comes to the most important job of all, the United States tends to favor tall men to lead our country. Of our 45 presidents, only six have been of below-average height (the last one was Jimmy Carter, elected 40 years ago).

Thinking further about Hayley’s feelings, I realized she wasn’t alone. While she felt she didn’t fit in because she was short, I wondered about the children who were different in other ways from what society deems “normal.” We are raising the next generation, and in today’s day and age, it has never been more important to instill qualities of self-confidence and self-worth in our children, especially young girls.

At the end of the day, I could have talked to Hayley about the advantages that came with being smaller until I was blue in the face, but what she really needed was a lesson on acceptance.

“Worry about being the best Hayley,” I frequently told her. 

While I certainly didn’t want to give her false confidence, my philosophy was simple: teach her to stop comparing herself to other children—physically, socially and academically, and focus on herself.

And then, out of my journalism background and Hayley’s personal struggle, came my “aha” moment. After a few months and lots of iced coffee’s later, “Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All)” was born. Through fun rhymes and beautiful illustrations, the book empowers short kids to embrace their differences while giving their taller peers perspective on the power of their words. In the month since its release, the book has become a best-seller on Amazon in the children’s size, self-esteem and emotion categories.

More importantly, it is illustrating to Hayley and other children that they should be proud to be who they are, on the inside and out.

Do you have a young daughter or son who is what society deems too short? Talk to them about how to accept themselves, point out their advantages and celebrate their differences. While Hayley measures about three inches below the growth curve for a child her age, she is not short on confidence, and she stands taller with the knowledge that she is valuable and deserving of life’s best offerings and opportunities, whatever the size.

Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky
Lori Orlinsky is a freelance writer, children’s book author and marketing director who lives in Chicago. She is the mother of two little ladies. Her award-winning children's books, "Being Small (Isn’t So Bad After All)," and "The Tooth Fairy's Tummy Ache" are available on Amazon.

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