Why I Am Not Raising Nice Kids ( A Letter to my Children)

young girl holding a toy horse

Dear kids, please don’t be nice.

Your whole lives up until now I have told you to be nice. I would like to formally retract that.

Most of the time I said it for lack of a better word:

 “Be nice to your sister.”

 “Hitting isn’t nice.”

 “Share, it’s the nice thing to do.”

 But I know now that nice was never the right word. 

The Dictionary says that nice means pleasant; agreeable; satisfactory. Kids, don’t be satisfactory. Be extraordinary. Be bold. Be passionate. Be fearless if you can. Be just and wise and steadfast. And in doing so, I assure you, some people will find you quite unpleasant and disagreeable.

Kids, be self-controlled, peaceable and charitable. Be warm, hospitable, accepting, genuine. But please, not nice.

Nice is a counterfeit of Love. It’s weak. It may look like love, but it lacks substance. And like any counterfeit the person who is left holding it has been robbed of the real thing.

My hope for you is a holy discontentment. A soul dis-ease that won’t allow you to be nice at the expense of doing the right thing.  That you will be so strongly motivated by love and compassion that you will stand for your fellow humans in a way that the powers of this world will not consider pleasant and agreeable at all.

The world needs more prophets. More truth speakers. More humility, vulnerability, and courage. The world needs people who are stubborn about all the right things and won’t be silent in the face of injustice and oppression just because society tells us it is the nice thing to do.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not telling you to be brash and angry and loveless.  

The Bible tells us to speak the truth in love, because the biggest truth about each person you meet is that they are fiercely loved by their creator, are of infinite worth and value. Any truth that is not impregnated with that love is a lie. Without love you become a clanging cymbal. So, love bravely and boldly. Love extravagantly.

But, kids, please don’t be nice.

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