What’s the difference between “Be Nice!” and “Be Kind!”?
Let me answer first with an explanation of the difference between nice and kind. Nice is about what the other person is thinking and feeling – it’s their perception of the situation. Kind is about what you choose to do and why. When you want to be nice, it’s because you want to please the other person; you want everyone to be happy. When you want to be kind, it’s because you want to do what is right regardless of how other people feel about it. Nice is permissive. Kind is GBD.
If I want to be nice to my children, I will give them what they want, not do what is needed, seek to please them, and hope they like me. If I want to be kind to my children, I will give them blessings, do what they need, seek to teach them and hope they learn. Nice manipulates. Kindness trains.
Bill has been working long hours, which Liam is not used to, and which is causing some behavior issues. I’ve been overwhelmed parenting alone and dealing with these issues. One thing Liam started doing was turning to me and shouting, “I’M NOT GOING TO DO IT,” and my fleshly reaction was, “OH YEAH?????” We were engaging in total power struggles and neither one of us was doing what was kind.
In order to change a dynamic, I have to look first at what I am doing and what I am able to control and change. When I’m trying to make my child obey, I am seeking to control him and not me. When I’m out of control, I’m not teaching anything worth having them learn. So I determined that I am responsible, before God and man, to be self-controlled and self disciplined first (modeling that for my children), and the requirement on me is kindness. Love is kind and God instructs me to be kind. If I’m not being kind then I am being disobedient to God. How can I demand my child obey me when I’m not obeying God? So I am working on being obedient by being kind.
This does not mean my child is being dealt with in a permissive way. My child is not being given permission to be disobedient. Instead, I am being obedient first and working to teach my child how to be obedient in a mode of disciple training through modeling, teaching, instructing and asking and answering questions.
We got our organ moved into the house yesterday. The kids are really excited about it and want to play with it. Unfortunately, Liam wants it to be a spaceship (the control booth, of course). Mean would be yelling at him to get away or threatening to get rid of the organ, or punishing him. Nice would be letting him bang away at it as long as he’s having fun, and risk it getting broken. Kind is stopping him with gentle but firm instructions, “You need to get down from the organ. It is not a toy. It is a special instrument that God has provided for our homeschooling. I’ve always wanted one and we can’t get it fixed if it gets broken. I will let you play it later, but for now you must get down,” and being prepared both to move him if necessary, and make sure he gets to play it appropriately with my help and instruction.
Kind is a difficult balance, especially depending on how we were raised. But it’s such a great discipline for us to learn for ourselves.