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 observer? I doubt. Perhaps it is an area to explore. Webster’s Dictionary describes Ugly as ‘unpleasant to look at: not pretty or attractive. When I say ugly, I am pinpointing individuals whose character traits and treatment of others are far from admirable. I am centering my thoughts today on three groups of people who parade in society with little or no concern for other people’s feelings.
The first set of ugly people on whom I want to place my eyes are able-bodied individuals who display their ugliness toward the differently abled, especially those who use wheel chairs. On another occasion I had to speak to an able bodied young male driver who parked in a space allocated for wheel chair users. He 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 behavior 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, a parking ticket maybe given by a parking attendant and the fine applied to such ugly persons. 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 persons in different positions of leadership who must be admired for the high level of professionalism and moral demeanor they habitually display within their respective areas of leadership and orbit of influence. Those under their charge are often delighted to speak favorably of their integrity. Disappointingly, there are too many other leaders whose ugly behavior leaves a bitter taste on the tongues of those they lead. Some ministers of religion, politicians, managers, educators, attorneys at law, law enforcement officers and health care professionals, just to name a few, cannot escape an ugly label when placed under the microscope of 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. There must be zero tolerance toward people who use their positions of power to take advantage of the weak and defenseless.
The third ugly group contains people who dispose garbage with little or no regard for the health of their fellow citizen. 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 not in places designated for garbage disposal. What makes such people ugly in my eyes is the fact that they not only see the rubbish they create as somebody’s trouble, but it also reflects an uncaring and selfish heart toward their fellow man. Only ugly people would engage in such insensitive conduct.
Any behavior that is designed to adversely affect others or has the potential to do so, must not be condoned; it must be strongly condemned. There is an old saying which states that “cleanliness is next to godliness”. Could it be that living godly lives may result in cleanliness and the removal of ugliness from the hearts of humankind? It is a thought worth pondering. As concerned citizens, it may not even harm to put the saying into daily practice. The results may be amazing.
Marriage and Family Life Consultant