The Sunflower Principle

March 30, 2009

My choice of a sunflower is arbitrary. As far as I know, all plants grow toward the light.

People are no different.

Take a pretty girl, tell her over the course of her life how pretty she is, and she will grow in the direction of the attention she receives for her physical beauty. She will know how to dress, how to tan, pluck and preen, how to position herself to receive the most direct light. Her view of herself and her posture in relation to other people will reflect the validation that she receives.

Take a boy, a natural athlete, and give him slaps on the back, trophies, and encouragement. His identity will be wrapped up in his physical prowess. He will position himself to receive more validation, more attention. 

Our behavior is no mystery. We all want attention, so we grow toward the light. A fine ear for music, precocious acting ability, an attractive sense of humor, brains—we follow natural relief to praise.

How many beautiful men and women do you know who have remarkable integrity or character? Be honest.

Has anyone else noticed The Sunflower Principle?

I am a recovering cynic, so I may very well be wrong.

How many exceptional athletes do you know who take really good care of the people in their lives?

I know I’m making a generalization, but I have noticed trends.

Why do you think really pretty women and really handsome men are so rarely unselfish, compassionate people? Why are so many professional athletes unsuitable as role models?

Please respond with a comment. I’d like to know your thoughts.

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7 Responses to “The Sunflower Principle”


  1. […] had a point. I call it The Sunflower Principle, and I’ve written about it […]


  2. […] is an interesting article comparing people and sunflowers.  Just as sunflowers turn towards the light, so do people.  They will tend towards the light, […]

  3. Sue Says:

    I definitely agree with this. It’s one reason why I like sunflowers! They always look toward the light. And I do think that people are the same way. Treat them according to their potential and they’ll tend to turn that way.

  4. Austin L. Church Says:

    How eloquent and sadly how true. I wish I could disagree. I shiver to think how I have perpetuated the problem. Perhaps that’s why I experience so much joy in speaking truth to the women in my life—doing what I can by the grace of God to loosen those bonds.

  5. Rebekah Says:

    To quote Beth Moore, “It’s tough being a woman in a world where beauty is a treatment.” Queen Esther was the most beautiful girl in all of Persia, yet she spent months on end in beauty treatments. Her beauty wasn’t enough. It had to be improved upon. Life now isn’t so different than during the Persian empire. Women are never tall enough, thin enough, tan enough, blonde enough. There is always room for improvement on the physical appearance and once this illusion is attained, the measure of beauty shifts culturally. It has created a self absorbed society where women are in bondage as a gender to the way we view men and men are more than happy to hold the reins. We look to them for our sense of self worth and approval. They reciprocate by establishing a society where women are objects, not individuals, their value only as good as they look. It’s a sad reality and ultimately we ALL pay the price as integrity and character continue to decline in both genders.

  6. Erin Says:

    I think it has less to do with looks and capabilities as it does to do with how others respond to those people’s looks and capabilities. The athletes who don’t take care of anyone but themselves? Well, there are millions of starstruck fans who still pay to see them play. The pretty but selfish women out there have become such because of the praise and adoration. It’s important to remember that we not only shape ourselves, but our responses and reactions help to shape others.

  7. Will Rucker Says:

    Hmmm…interesting. I think I subconsciously see a lot of these trends.

    I am not sure if our negative connotations of “sexy” people and athletes are jaded by the fact that the media immediately jumps at the first chance to reveal the mistakes of famous people. It’s harder for us to think of these “sexy” people and athletes as good people when the media doesn’t really shine light on the good things celebrities are doing.

    Most of us might know of Michael Phelps’ bong hits.

    And the only good things we see are those 15 second commercial things on NBC that show some celebrity telling viewers to not do drugs. And they’re always so hard to believe for some reason.

    Anyways.


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