Are You Nice? Or… Are You Kind?

Dear Reader:

I know you must be thinking… ” Hum… yesterday’s post was about the difference between ” looking” or ” seeing” and now ” nice” or ” kind?” ” Is Becky on some kind of grammatical mission?”

No. ( ” NO is a complete sentence.” ) ***Popular quote by Annie Lamotte. Of course she simply means that we water down the power of the word when we add dangling participles or adverbs… whatever … to the comment.

Most of you readers know I have had a long love affair with words, their meanings and origins from day one. It is only now, however, that I have come to realize how some of our simplest words are more complex when used correctly. ( Look and See- Nice and Kind)

Monday morning found me scurrying around-three major items on my to do list and one appointment. By the time I got groceries and got home… it was 1:00 and GMA 3 was starting. The whole show was their big kick-off Cool To Be Kind – a year-long initiative.

I was starving and gobbling down some lunch as I watched the program. The first initiative was to send some of their young employees to Central Park to get volunteers to participate in acts of kindness.

Beautiful areas of Central Park

If you can pull yesterday’s show …watch how everyone in Central Park got pulled into the joy of giving… one girl went into a nearby coffee shop and bought coffee for a stranger-what was so nice was watching the expressions on the other customers faces… everyone was smiling … their day was made watching this one isolated act of kindness!

First, however, the question arose between applying the terms nice or kind to individuals… what term was more surface and which one had a deeper concept.

Nice and Kind are often used interchangeably to describe a friendly person. However there is an important distinction.

Nice typically describes a person who is pleasant or polite to others, while kind typically describes someone who performs good acts for others. Nice is passive; Kind is active.

Go back in time and remember how many times your parents ” warned” you ( as a child and adolescent) to ” be nice” at a relatives gathering or friend’s sleepover. Today we should direct our children and grandchildren to be kind… not just polite. Do something that shows your kindness in being helpful.

We only have to look to Jesus to see the best examples. Kindness is bestowed on us through the complete love and acceptance of His love through us. Jesus never stopped at just being nice… He actively made arrangements to feed the hungry masses listening to Him, to heal the blind and sick, to comfort those who mourned and accept everyone’s differences without judgment.

Niceness is pleasant , but it lacks conviction. Jesus’ kindness is selfless, compassionate and merciful- It is the act of kindness that He wished for His believers to follow- ” Love your neighbor” and spread kindness to everyone… go the extra mile.

GMA 3 even had one of their doctors share how being kind to others can affect your physical and mental health. Kind people have lower blood pressure issues, decrease in cortisol-a natural stress hormone. Kind acts produce good endorphins and increase connectivity that enhances relationships , thus lowering isolation. Kind people live happier and longer lives.

So until tomorrow…

Today is my favorite day-Winnie the Pooh

After I got back from Mt Pleasant this past weekend…while checking my mail I was so excited to see a notecard from Joan… my son-in-law John’s multi-talented and kind mother!

I had sent her ( earlier) a combo get-well and Mother’s Day card-( Joan had fallen down her porch steps – when the railing broke) but thankfully escaped with bruises but no broken bones! Now here she was sending a personally illustrated notecard cover of a garden one finds in their dreams or wildest imagination! Breathtaking in its beauty. I just wanted to magically ” transform ” into that garden of serenity and awe-inspiring beauty !

And she didn’t stop there… she put another secret ” surcie” in too to pay forward … best example of the difference between nice and kind. Joan is both… magnified!

I want to jump in the pond and swim with the koi! Our multi-talented artistic Joan!!!
Finally! My first gardenia bloom! I smelled it before I saw it!!! Heavenly!

About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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1 Response to Are You Nice? Or… Are You Kind?

  1. Gin-g Edwards says:

    Loved visiting with you yesterday…will be back soon for another joyful visit…

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