"After a traffic accident at the age of 12, I was left unable to walk for three years. When eventually I did walk again, I had one leg three inches shorter than the other. This essentially left me wholly unbalanced.
Over the years ahead I engaged in all manner of sport and activities in order to learn to 'stand up straight' and for two years I even looked at the discipline of Indian Dance and its movements.
It was only twenty years later in my work as a stress management counsellor and group worker that I learned the true psychological and physiological importance of 'standing up straight.'
In short, I learned that 'standing up straight' was physiologically incompatible with engaging in any negative, harmful or criminal behaviour. I learned that leading a non-crooked life meant learning to 'stand up straight.' For twenty five years of my working life, I studied the postures of hundreds of people under states of both stress and relaxation whilst they engaged in both good and bad action, criminal and non-criminal deeds. This research of mine, which I incorporated into my anger management courses, matched the findings of numerous other studies into behaviour posture.
I essentially learned that it becomes extremely hard to tell a person a lie when you look them straight in the eye; not impossible, but certainly very hard. Indeed, I learned that until a person can learn to stand up straight, they will not be able to walk straight, talk straight or live a straight and upright life. It is simply easier to do the right thing when stood upright and when doing the wrong thing, we invariably stand off centre and do not maintain eye contact.
In my work with many tense people who displayed addictive, criminal or problematic behavior patterns, none stood up straight when they did so. When however, long term positive change had happened within their response patterns, all stood up straight automatically.
It would seem therefore that the strict-sounding Army Sergeant-Major drilling his men or the old-time Teacher calling their class to attention or the Judge reprimanding a disrespectful defendant in his court knew something that we generally don't appreciate today. Perhaps, they were in effect 'calling their charges to heel' when they commanded, 'Stand up straight when you talk to me and take your hands out of your pockets, boy!'" William Forde : April 15th, 2014.