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Not Nice


I'm actively trying to purge the word "nice" from my vocabulary, because I do not want to teach Little L that adjective as a compliment, nor do I wish to raise her to be a "nice little girl." Let me repeat that: I don't want Little L to be nice.

I want her to be passionate - about Jesus and truth and learning and the precious life she has been given to live.

I want her to be brave - speaking out against that which is wrong or untrue or unjust.

I want her to be compassionate - weeping with those who weep and keeping her heart soft.

I don't want her to be nice.

I want her to be generous - lavishing her time and resources on others who truly need it.

I want her to be polite - showing respect for others because they bear His image.

I want her to be critical - and consider things from multiple perspectives and biases before drawing her own conclusions.

I don't want her to be nice.

I want her to be hard-working - making the most of her resources and skills without looking for shortcuts and handouts.

I want her to be curious - always asking questions and looking for answers and broadening her understanding.

I want her to be consistent - honouring her commitments and living with integrity to what she believes and says.

I don't want her to be nice.

I want her to be driven, to be honest, to be confident and assertive and opinionated and shrewd and grateful and outspoken and excitable and fiercely protective and loyal. 

Nice is a non-descript adjective with some very undesirable connotations. What is "nice"? How would you define it? Pleasant? Agreeable? Obedient? Complacent? Unlikely to "rock the boat" or "make waves"? "Nice" is appropriate for a well-trained dog or an inanimate object like a vase; it's not so desirable for people who want to follow Jesus. 

In fact, Jesus Himself wasn't nice; He was polarizing and passionate and counter-culture. His ministry was marked by scandalously extravagant love and mercy and compassion, and a bold and unwavering commitment to Truth and justice. He was righteously angry at times, overthrowing tables and kicking people out of holy places. He was tender at times, squatting down to eye level to embrace and welcome the littlest children. He wasn't nice, and that's partly how He ended up on a cross. And that's the way it should be with us.

I see no reason for this word to exist in our vernacular anymore, except as another way to keep people from making meaningful change in their world by telling them that to be agreeable and pleasant to all is some sort of virtue to be extolled. They say that nice guys finish last, but really, nice people don't do anything at all, except maintain status quo. These are the people-pleasers of society, always compromising and tepid and likely to be spat out on the last days.

Let's stop being "nice" and trying to bring up nice little boys and girls, and let's begin to raise a generation of informed, passionate, courageous people who will move mountains. 

Because a world filled with nice people won't be a very nice world to live in.


Comments

mazoola said…
this is a great post!

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