There has been a lot said about raising nice kids. And I approve. I think a nice kid is a BIG deal! But it’s not the end goal…
See, a nice kid gets you the ‘please’ and ‘thank you’s’. A nice kid holds the door and a nice kid will probably even clear the table and take out the trash, sometimes without even having to be told. But for me, beyond being nice, I want my children to have a strong character.
I want them to hold the door for someone even when they themselves are running late, and tired, and carrying grocery bags. And when no one else offers to hold the door or offers their seat on a crowded bus, I want them to offer up a prayer for the problems that might be plaguing each of those other tired, grocery bag carrying, hurried people. Because nice is easy. Nice is a polite smile as you walk by in the hallway. But strength of character is when a bully pushes you down and you have to stand back up and say, “Don’t do that again, I won’t be pushed around,” and still be the kind of person that helps them up when they fall.
Strength of character is that deep down, core stuff that only comes out when we least expect it but when we most need it. It’s learned after too many falls and too few helping hands. It is sometimes the only thing that gets us up out of bed and the last thing before our eyes close, allowing us to say those bedtime prayers that keep us sane at night.
So, yeah, I want my kids to be nice. A ‘thank you’ now and again is appreciated, but when I see my daughter get picked on by the same girl day after day and she’s still able to be kind to her and say a prayer for her, when my son shrugs his shoulders and says ‘yeah, they’re just like that sometimes but I ignore them’ and keeps on doing his own thing, that’s the stuff I’m talking about. That’s character. That’s the inside strength that I want them to keep building because the world needs more kids like that, the ones that are more than just nice, they are strong to the core.