Character Matters Most

By Dr. Robert Wallace

July 14, 2020 5 min read

DR. WALLACE: I'm 5 feet tall in stocking feet. I love being short. I never have trouble being crowded on a plane; I can sleep in the smallest bed imaginable; and I enjoy curling up in any size chair and reading a good book. I think it's great to be short, sweet and compact!

Why, then, am I in the great minority on this? Everyone in our family was pulling for me to grow taller, especially my father, who would measure me every Sunday evening after dinner. It got to be kind of embarrassing for me as a kid because I knew my dad wanted me to grow taller, but I wasn't, and there was nothing I could do about it. My mother even took me to the doctor when I was 11 to find out if anything could be done to make me grow taller. The doctor told her I was fine just the way I was. I was happy that he said that, and I could have given him a hug, but I just smiled and said nothing.

Yes, I've been the smallest girl in all of my classes growing up, but I'm pretty smart and tough and nobody has ever bothered me or teased me. I think it's because I've told several of my girlfriends that I like my size.

So, my question is, why does everyone want to be tall or taller than they are? If they were smart, they would see the many advantages to being shorter than the average person. — Short Stuff Who's More Than Tough, via email

SHORT STUFF: We can blame society and its notion that "bigger is better," but you are indeed one of the lucky ones who knows better and dismisses this rhetoric. Deep down, we all know size doesn't matter; it's a person's character that is important, and you've obviously got that in spades.

Good for you that you are happy as you are and that your self-confidence shines through. You're the perfect example of how confidence and character matter the most!


DR. WALLACE: My boyfriend and I plan to live together soon after we graduate from high school, maybe even as soon as next fall or winter. We just finished our junior year of high school, and like most students, we hope we get to be back on our actual high school campus next year rather than having to attend school remotely. My parents are really upset about this potential arrangement and think that it's wrong to live together before getting married.

Will we be having sex living together if and when we move in together? My guess is we will when that time comes. However, if we were having sex in the back seat of his car and going home to our respective houses, no one would say anything. I guess everything is relative and depends on how you look at it. Anyway, we've been dating for two years and have waited to have sex so far. I'm thinking now that maybe we should not have said anything about this matter, as it's still over a year away, and who knows what might happen between now and then. — In Love and Patient, via email

IN LOVE AND PATIENT: I'm in full agreement that you spoke too soon in this instance. It's great that the two of you have abstained physical love while you're both in high school, and I understand that you dream of being 18, a high school graduate and in control of your future. But voicing your plans this far in advance has brought pushback and disdain.

The good news is that this is now a learning experience for you. In the future, think twice about disclosing something so personal so far in advance. And while you are at it, I also suggest you think carefully about moving in together at such a young age. You didn't mention a desire by either of you to attend college or any future jobs to pay for housing and food; there is a lot for you to think about when the time comes.

For now, I suggest you continue your relationship for as long as it continues to stay strong. Once you both graduate high school, you can think about future plans from the perspective of 18-year-old graduates versus your present mindset of 17-year-old dreamers.

Dr. Robert Wallace welcomes questions from readers. Although he is unable to reply to all of them individually, he will answer as many as possible in this column. Email him at [email protected] To find out more about Dr. Robert Wallace and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: dai_nguyen at Pixabay

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