Be Kind, Be Nice
Have you ever had a common message delivered to you over and over again to the point that it makes you stop and think? Over the last month or so, the concepts of KINDNESS and NICENESS keep popping up in my life. So much so in fact, I’m wondering if someone is trying to tell me something. Given that possibility, I decided to share some thoughts about it with all of you.
At a parent engagement training I attended in October, the speaker reminded all of the educators in the room that we are paid to be nice. He pointed out that it is human nature to respond more positively to people that are kindhearted. While pointing out that sometimes parents (and I would add community members) can be a bit cranky, our conversations and therefore outcomes are better if we listen with kindness. That we be nice. One of his slides said: Kindness is treating people better than they deserve. Those words really stuck with me.
About a week later, I received a card in the mail from a community member. It read: It’s nice to be important but it’s more important to be nice. I took a breath before I opened it because I went negative thinking I must have really offended someone. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised that the sender was not only congratulating me but also thanking me for always taking the time to visit and to ask about her daughter when our paths cross. Another loud and clear reminder: No act of kindness is ever wasted.
A couple of weeks ago, there it was again. This time, I was in a meeting where there were some differing opinions. I was getting frustrated as the discussion got a little heated. While taking a brief mental break from the stress, I checked my phone and one of those inspirational Facebook messages was at the top of the feed. It said: Sometimes it is more important to be kind than to be right. Having an intelligent mind that speaks is fine, but a loving heart that listens will do more good. Hmmm. That changed my attitude and therefore the conversation in a hurry. The meeting came to a good conclusion.
And just last week, I attended the funeral service for former GFPS superintendent (1966-1984) Harold Wenaas. Kindness was the theme of the funeral. From the eulogy presented by a family member, to the sermon given by the pastor, and finally to the scripture Dr. Wenaas chose for his own service, the need to be kind to each other was mentioned over and over again. His parting gift to all of us was a reminder to “Be kind and compassionate to one another; to forgive each other.”
Perhaps I’ve just developed a sensitivity to niceness or perhaps the recurring kindness message is just a coincidence. Either way, I’m going to heed the pieces of advice noted above as the hectic holiday season begins. I’ll start by wishing you a wonderful week filled with kindness!
Take care. Be safe. Stay well.