No. 664 - WHAT'S IN A FACE?

No. 664



Around our house, I could never get away with anything that is not strictly on the up and up, even if I wanted to, because Viola can read me like a book. All she has to do is look at my face and it’s a dead give-away. I am sure there are many people who can tell a lie with a straight face, but I have never been able to do it. The human face is one of the most marvelous gifts that God has given to each of us and, save for identical twins, it tells others who we are. Most of us have look-a-likes, but there are unique differences, and this is why we can be 10,000 miles from home and see someone we know, and they would call us by name.
As human beings we are also emotional creatures, and our face is where our emotions show up for others to see. As I thought about this I came up with a list of various emotions that we see on the faces of others from time to time. Here is the list and you can probably think of many others. Our face lets others know when we are angry, sad, happy, fearful, disappointed, concerned, shocked, frustrated, eager, guilty, dishonest, surprised, disgusted, contented, dejected, arrogant, elated, conceited, loved, peaceful, shamed, confident and, of course, there are always those with a ‘blank’ look on their face.
What brought this thinking to mind is a new logo that we have developed for our “Bookcase for Every Child” project. When we first started the project back in 2005, our logo had a beautiful little white girl sitting in front of a bookcase full of books. This logo served us well for the first few years, but it did not really represent the full scope of what we are doing. We came to realize that we needed a logo, or symbol, that represented “every” child, as our title implies. Thanks to my good friend Luis Ortega, because he came up with a new logo that says it all. Now, when viewed, all parents can see a representative of their own child in the picture.
There are nine children, sitting or standing around four bookcases, and the focus is books and reading, as this is what we are all about. There is no way I can do justice to this scene by attempting to describe it, but the looks on these children’s faces is just priceless. Each one, four boys and five girls, is unique and special in their own way. Keep in mind that each child is from 3 to 7 years of age, the age when they are most impressionable. The children who do not develop a passion for reading when they are very young will be at a severe disadvantage as long as they live.
The child in this scene that really stands out is a little light-skinned, African-American boy who looks to be about 4 years of age. He is sitting there in his short pants, with books and an apple beside him and a graduation cap sitting cocked on his head, with his right hand holding it on. But what really sets him apart is the look on his face. His facial expression does not show any hint of anger, sadness, shame, arrogance, disappointment, dishonesty or any of the other emotions that unfortunately characterize many of the adults who will shape his future.
A portion of the song, “You’ve Got to be Carefully Taught” from South Pacific by Rodgers and Hammerstein says it all, “You’ve got to be taught to hate and fear. You’ve got to be taught from year to year. It’s got to be drummed in your dear little ear. You’ve got to be carefully taught. You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late. Before you are six or seven or eight, to hate all the people your relatives hate. You’ve got to be carefully taught.”
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To support literacy, buy his book: “Learning, Earning & Giving Back.”)