Believe it or not, I teach the adult Sunday school class in my church. A couple of weeks ago I happened to mention that the president of our church had given a talk about being nice. Being nice? Do we actually need our church leaders to tell us to be nice? How hard is it be nice for heaven's sake? One guy made the comment that it's actually a very hard thing and that's why our church leader felt the need to focus on that topic.
It made me stop and think and you know what? I've discovered that, for humans, it really is hard to be nice sometimes. Let's use writing for an example.
So, let's say your editing someone's story. A lot of us are in writing groups. We can all relate. Do you come out and tell them their writing is sloppy and they should know how to do it by now? Do you tell them that you're tired of being specific in your editing? Do you tell them they should push back their publishing date a year because they're obviously too stupid to get it right in the next six months? Or could you instead say that you can see the hard work they've put in and could they keep tightening a bit more? And that if they need more time, you'll give it to them.
Do you make derogitory comments in the margins about the way they word things? Do you pull out sentences to use as examples in a rude way? Are those comments meant to make the writer feel smart or stupid? I frequently have this same conversation with my kids. I'll say, "Did you say that to your sister/brother to make them feel smart or stupid?" Think about it.
There are ways to say things that are rude and ways to say it nice. Now, some people would complain that others are too sensitive, and have to be handled with kid gloves. Well, don't we all want to be handled that way? Don't we all want strokes, to be praised instead of BLUNTLY cut down?
I think we all need to step back and really look at the way we treat, talk, and email the people around us. Are we too harsh? Can we say things in a friendlier, more constructive way? A lot of the time, yes. Everyone wants to be liked. Everyone wants friends. Sometimes I say things I regret and wish I would have been nicer. Since I have sometimes been on the receiving end of negative treatment, it's on my mind and I have made a vow not to be the kind of person who is rude, overly blunt, negatively critical and unloving. I want to be known to everyone as someone they can count on to make them feel happier in any given circumstance.
When I die, I want to look God in the face and not be ashamed of the way I treated the people who crossed my path. Let's all make that our goal.