Tall girls and short guys:
A normal part of growing up!
and Christina were young teens who were often teased about their
height. Emilio was the shortest kid in his class and it looked as
though he was always going to feel left out of social events
because he was shorter than the other guys. Christina had the
opposite problem. She was the tallest girl in her class, and was
even taller than most boys her age.
Fortunately, Emilio and Christina both saw a television program
that told them about early developers and late
developers. The program said many adolescents (young teens)
become concerned unnecessarily about their height. Height varies a
lot in adolescents, but when they reach 20, most are within the
range for normal height.
The program showed a bird's nest high up a tree. Eggs were in
the nest. A time-lapse camera filmed the nest and showed the chicks
hatching at different times. The last bird to hatch, called a
late developer, hatched much later than the first (an
When all the birds were several months old, you couldn't see
much difference in their sizes. Sure, some were still smaller or
bigger than the others, but the differences were less noticeable
People are like that too
People also “hatch” at different times. Emilio was
the shortest in his group for years, and Christina was the tallest
in her group for years. But when Emilio and Christina were 20 they
realized they were not much different from their 20-year-old
The problem, they said later, is that we each go through
adolescence only once, and don't realize when we are going through
it that things usually turn out in the long run. In fact, when they
found out about early developers and late developers, they both had
a bit of fun whenever someone mentioned their height.
“I'm not short,” Emilio would always say. “I'm
a late developer. Don't you know about early developers and late
developers? Let me tell you …” Usually by now the
critic would start walking away, but if he didn't, Emilio would be
smiling inside while he launched into telling the person a long
version of the television program. The critics soon stopped because
they didn't want to listen to a 10-minute lecture on early
developers and late developers.
Some teens develop early and some develop late. You can't do
anything about which group you fall into, and you shouldn't want
to, because that group is the natural one for you. Just let it
happen naturally, and don't try to force it or stop it.
Girls develop earlier than boys
Girls develop a little earlier than most boys, but when these
awkward years are over no one cares whether you developed early or
late. And even though some adults are taller or shorter than
others, most rarely think about when they started growing into
Your eventual size as an adult depends a lot on how tall or
short your parents are. You inherit your parents' genes, so you
will be like them in some ways. If your parents are both African
Tutsi, the chances are strong that you will be taller than someone
whose parents are Chinese. It just happens that way. Tutsis are
tall, Chinese are short. Again, you can't do much about it, and you
shouldn't want to because your natural height will suit you best
What you can do about your height
There is a wide range of heights among adults. Some are tiny
dwarfs and some grow to be giants like Goliath in the Bible. There
is nothing unnatural about any height — and if it concerns
you it probably depends on who you hang around with.
If you are a short guy, you won't look out of place if you hang
out with one or two other short guys. If you are a tall girl, you
won't look out of place with another tall friend.
Whatever height you are as a teen, make the most of it and don't
worry about it. There are thousands on thousands of people who are
the same height as you, and some of them see only advantages.
Sabina, for instance, was a tall teen, and she said it was great
to be in crowds because she could see over everyone's head. Thomas
was short, and said it was great to be in places where he didn't
want to stand out and in playing certain sports because he could
sneak past tall players easily.
Someone loves you
Some guys love tall women and some women love short guys. If you
develop a friendly personality, no one will worry about your height
and you will attract a wider range of friends.
So work on being friendly if your height worries you. Try to
develop a personality that people will enjoy. If your height
concerns you (and it doesn't worry every short or tall
person), then avoid obvious mistakes like these:
- Short guys. Don't get big dogs as pets. And when you get
your driver's license don't drive huge cars or trucks. This only
makes your size more obvious. Get a medium-sized dog as a pet, wear
the right sized clothes, and drive a medium-sized car or truck.
Some short guys don't realize they are highlighting their shortness
by always wanting big things, whether it's cars, clothes, guns,
pets, or anything else.
- Tall girls. Don't hunch over to make yourself look
shorter. It doesn't work. It looks terrible, and if you do it for
too long it may become such a habit that you develop a stoop
without realizing it. Tall girls look elegant when they walk
upright. Just look at how tall some fashion models try to look.
It's OK to wear flat, thin-soled shoes instead of high heels if you
don't want to look too tall. But if you accept that you are tall
and don't seem concerned about it, you may find (as many tall girls
have) that your shorter friends will wish they were as tall as
What does the Bible say?
Jesus told His disciples that no one, by being anxious, can add
a cubit to their height (Luke 12:25) (a cubit was a measure of
about 18 inches, or 45 centimetres). What you are, you are. So make
the most of what you have instead of what you don't have.
In Luke 19 we read of a time when Jesus was passing through
Jericho. There was a rich man there named Zaccheus who was trying
to catch a glimpse of Jesus. But he could not see Jesus because
Zaccheus was short. So Zaccheus climbed a sycamore tree (being
small he was able to climb easily) and when Jesus saw him He gave
Zaccheus the honour of letting Jesus stay at his house.
An important verse is 1 Samuel 16:7, in which we read that
Samuel looked at David's brother Eliab and thought that surely he
was anointed of the LORD. But the
LORD told Samuel not to look at Eliab's appearance
or at his height, because the LORD looks not at
outward appearances, but at the heart. It's what you are like
inside that counts.
And this is what counts with any reasonable person no matter
what age you are. Accept whatever height you are. Work on
developing your inward goodness and friendliness — it will
bring you good that you would never get otherwise.
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