A few weeks ago on Focus on the Family, a guy was talking about how we should stop trying to raise “nice” kids & work toward kids who are caring & compassionate. I found this to be a very encouraging two part broadcast (listen to parts one & two here).
One point the author being interviewed brought out was that so often Christian parents are training their children to be nice – look good, don’t rock the boat, be “nice” & make me look good! He pointed out that the word nice has, if you look in the dictionary, “ignorant, to not know” at it’s root. I didn’t believe him, but he’s right! Nice, at least in my dictionary, doesn’t have a positive trait in it’s definition until the sixth entry! And then it seems to have connotations of appearance – “wanton, coy, finicky tastes, particular, demanding excessive precision, trivial,…” I was shocked.
Today, the kids & I had a devotional on kindness & random acts of kindness. I got to thinking again about that broadcast & the differences between nice & kind. Words do mean something, so I wondered the differences between the two. Kindness is a fruit of the Spirit; nice is not. So what are some other differences? I think one thing is that nice is what you do, verses kind is how you are. CHARACTER! Another word for kind according to the dictionary is “loving”. (Remember that God is love – 1 John 4:7,8. Love is the essence of Who He is – we only know what love is by looking at His character.) Nice seems to be more of an outward appearance, often times with a “fake” air about it. Kindness is an inner quality that often times gets no notice.
This also leads to another podcast I heard way back in June again on Focus on the Family about “nice guys”. Hear those two broadcasts here & here. It was talking about the problem women have with their passive men, “nice guys”. They fall in love with them because they are “nice”, but then get all disgusted with the same man when they live with them a few years. Aren’t we training our men to be wimps? Why do the same women who can’t stand their men to be so wimpy bring up their boys to be that way? Rush calls it the “chickification of our society” & points out many other problems this is causing with our boys. Kindness, on the other hand, is very masculine; think chivalry.
Is the goal for members of our family to be nice or kind? Something to think about. “Man looks on the outward appearance, but God looks on the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)