It’s Easy to be Nice. It’s Harder to be Unkind.

Yesterday morning, I was at Audrey’s home as she was getting William (4) and Alex (3) ready for pre-school.  This is no ordinary task, as Benjamin (will be 2 next week) and Henry (9 months) are very much in-the-mix, too.  There’s breakfast for 4, clothing for 4, backpacks for 2, diapers for 2… you get the picture!

At one point, when Audrey was busy otherwise, Alex asked William if he liked his (Alex’s) shirt.  Alex loves his 3-button, collared shirts and will wear nothing else.  He calls them his “handsome” shirts.  William didn’t answer Alex at first, so Alex asked again, a bit louder.  Still no answer from William.

Alex is a determined little guy and would not be dissuaded from his important question about his handsome shirt.  He asked again.  And again.

Finally, William answered, “Why do you have to ask me about your shirt every morning?”

This is when I stepped in.  I said to William, “Think about how many words you had to say to Alex and still not answer his question, when all you had to say to him was, ‘Yes.’  Let’s count them.  Hmmmm.  You said 12 words instead of 1.  And your 12 words didn’t make Alex feel good.  One ‘YES’ would have made him feel very, very good.”

William then looked at Alex and said (maybe a bit reluctantly), “Yes.”  But I could see the wheels turning in William’s head, and decided to jump on the opportunity to discuss kind/unkind.  I asked him to get me some paper and crayons.  We sat down and quickly came up with a list of NICE words that make people feel really good.  Some of them are:

Yes

I love you!

Sure!

Let me help

You look pretty (this is William’s phrase to describe his Mommy)

We are continuing to build our list of EASY NICE words that make others feel very, very good.  Do you have any suggestions?    I will compile them all and pass them along!

I must say that this little “lesson” inspired both William and Alex to watch their words all day yesterday… and to think about how other people may feel.

It’s Easy to be Nice. It’s Harder to be Unkind. was last modified: February 9th, 2010 by Sharon Couto
SHOWHIDE Comments (12)
  1. Thanks for the reminder about how EASY it is to be NICE … even (and especially) when frustrated, flustered, annoyed, etc.

    It also reminded me of how long a smile goes …

    Thanks for imparting your wisdom on the rest of us! I appreciate being reminded of things that I was taught oh-so-many years ago!

  2. Of Course!
    No worries!
    I would love to help!
    Just tell me where to start!
    What can I do to help?
    Thank you!
    AWESOME job!
    Great listening ears!

    Way to go Grandma on such a lesson!

  3. Hi Sharon-

    You might remember me…..

    I think you would enjoy learning about Ben’s Bells. I sit on the board for this organization. Their mission is random act of kindness. Enjoy 🙂 http://www.bensbells.org

  4. Way to grab that teachable moment! The ones I use most often in my class are:
    Well done!
    You rock!
    That’s amazing.
    You’re a hard worker.
    Good trying! (for those not-quite-right answers)

    Oh, and thanks for the “lesson” idea. We’ve been having trouble with kind words in our class lately (the most horrific being, “You can’t come to my birthday party!) I hope you don’t mind me borrowing your idea.

  5. Sharon, I will use this lesson with my own children! They have been in this exact scenario so many times and I’ve been fresh out of ideas of how to get through to them this week. Thank you!

  6. What a terrific idea, Sharon, about teaching such an important lesson. Kids (and lots of adults) sometimes don’t think about how much words can hurt… or how they can make you feel so good!

    And you made it so much fun!

    I agree with Chrissy (my sweet, wise, wonderful daughter)…. You’re the BEST!

  7. Oh, Sharon! What a wonderful post! Great lesson…and someting we (as adults) need to remember to incorporate into OUR daily lives too. Thanks so much for posting this. I love how you are so positive, kind, caring, intelligent, and wise.

It’s Easy to be Nice. It’s Harder to be Unkind. was last modified: February 9th, 2010 by Sharon Couto