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Should parents set as a goal to raise nice kids?
Should parents set as a goal to raise nice kids? Kids are taught at an early age to be nice to their siblings, friends, and classmates, but does that really work in the real world? Do we need nice kids turning into nice adults?
Before I answer the question, lets look at how nice is defined. According to dictionary.com, nice is defined as “agreeable”. The origin of the word was silly, simple, or ignorant. Today, we can add the following synonyms to nice: pleasant, kind, good-natured, safe, and well mannered. No one can argue that these qualities have a place in kids’ lives. Being nice is a great virtue, but stops short of allowing kids to make a difference. I was raised going to church and the church taught that you should be nice. “Love thy neighbor as thyself” – The golden rule. School reinforced this principle.
The Problem of Evil in the World
The problem with thinking that being nice to everyone, denies the existence of evil in the world. Until recent years, this fact would not even be questioned, but today more and more people deny the existence of evil in the world. They can deny it all they want, it does not make it go away.
There are many times where nice isn’t good enough. If someone breaks into your house, being nice will not help. If a bully is picking on your kid, being nice will not solve the situation. Let us look at several examples from history:
Nero was the 5th Roman Emperor, who reined from 54 AD to 68 AD. Nero’s favorite past time was burning captured Christian to light his garden each night.
Adolph Hitler slaughtered around 11 million people, including 6 million Jews. Why? Was Germany attacked? No, because Hitler was evil.
Osama bin Laden
Osama bin Laden killed thousands of innocent American’s on 09/11/01. He also is responsible of bombing United States embassies in Tanzania and Kenya to name a few of his acts.
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is the leader of Iran, has killed many of his own citizens. He also is threatening to blow Israel off of the map.
Being Nice Vs. Being Good
Being nice to someone breaking into your house, a bully picking on your child, Nero, Hitler, bin Laden, Ahmadinejad is naive and will not protect anyone from evil. Having good manners, being pleasant, safe, and kind, offers little help in confronting evil.
Europe tried to be nice to Hitler and appease him at the start of World War II. Neville Chamberlain was unwilling to confront Hitler, instead appeased him. Winston Churchill followed Chamberlain as the British Prime Minister. Winston Churchill would not be described as a nice man. He was overbearing, rude, lacked integrity, and just was not a nice person. However, Churchill was willing to stand and fight against Hitler’s Germany. He successfully guided Britain through the sustained Germany air raids. Churchill was a force for good, even though he wasn’t a nice man.
An even better example is Jesus Christ. He is often described as meek and gentle, which he is, but He is also the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. Look at how Jesus talked to the religious leaders. He was sarcastic and didn’t pull punches with them. Jesus speaking to the religious leaders said, “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You are like whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead man’s bones and everything unclean . . .You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?” Matthew 23:27,33 Jesus is good, but not always nice. He stood up against the hypocrisy of the religious leaders.
Being nice is good, but it is more important to be good. Being good, allows a father to protect his family from intruders breaking into their house, even if it means using deadly force. Goodness causes a soldier to be halfway around the world and fight to protect their country. Goodness is taking a stand against evil and drawing a line, not allowing it to continue.