People Who Are Small in Size
IF YOU were struggling with some physical handicap, such as lameness, would you want others to view your condition as a joke? You rather would appreciate their manifesting empathy. And so it is with those who are unusually small in physical stature.
The Bible tells us of a tax collector named Zacchaeus who was “small in size.” Because of this he climbed a tree so as to be able to see Jesus Christ. This illustrates the handicaps facing persons who are small in size, especially those who are between three and four feet tall. They may have difficulty when wanting to mail a letter or ring a doorbell. Getting small enough clothing, especially shoes, also presents a problem to them.
Those who are unusually small in size mainly belong to one of two groups: midgets and dwarfs. In the case of true midgets, everything about them in a physical way is ‘mini’—their head, their body, their limbs, their physical strength—but not their mental and emotional powers. The smallest midget on record was an Arab who grew to a height of only one foot, one and a half inches. About one in a million births results in a midget, most of whom are of normal size at birth.
Midgets usually are the result of a deficiency of the growth hormone secreted by the forward part of the pituitary gland situated at the base of the brain. However, at times nutritional deficiencies or unhappy homelife may be the causes or contributing causes. Those midgets suffering from a deficiency of only the growth hormone are able to rear children, who usually are of normal stature. Thus one pair of midgets, a little over two feet tall, reared fourteen children, all of whom attained average height. Some midgets, though, are unable to have children.
Dwarfs are faced with a different problem. They suffer from a bone disease, a failure of the cartilage to form. While the human growth hormone has been found helpful in youthful midgets, no remedy has been found for dwarfs. As a result of the defect the limbs of dwarfs are very short, whereas the rest of the body is of normal size. And whereas midget mothers can bear children only by cesarean section, dwarfs appear to have no difficulty in having children, who, likely as not, may also be dwarfs. As with midgets, dwarfs are of normal size at birth.
Midgets, however, do have some advantages. Midgets change little in appearance as they get older. As a group they are extremely healthy.
Midgets also have a higher rate of metabolism, about one and a half that of people of average size. Thus we are told that a sixty-pound midget can eat as much as a man three times his weight!
It is easy to understand why midgets and dwarfs do not want to be stared at, laughed at, or viewed as freaks or curiosities. They want to be accepted as people on the basis of their abilities, their skills, their attainments. One English dwarf, three and a half feet tall, was outstanding as an actor and a sculptor and had an unusually high IQ. He said, “I don’t feel like a dwarf inside!” Among Americans who are small in size are those with college degrees, electronics engineers, lawyers, and so forth. Many drive their own auto, having extensions fastened to the pedals, and some even fly their own airplanes. In fact, they seem to be determined to demonstrate that they are not one whit behind people of average size. This seems to be borne out by the fact that two-fifths of them choose mates of conventional size.
So, when you meet one of these persons who is small in size, treat him like the fellow human that he is. He will appreciate it. And, after all, that is the right thing to do, for does not God’s Word say: “Just as you want men to do to you, do the same way to them”?—Luke 6:31.