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Playing Nice: What's the Truth?

Updated on March 29, 2017
The waters get muddied for kids if we are not clear about the need to play nice safely.
The waters get muddied for kids if we are not clear about the need to play nice safely. | Source

Playing Nice is a Good Concept?

The start of a school year, as well as holiday breaks, always hold their unique dangers for children. In a world of instant communication which can both help and hurt our efforts to keep them safe, it is even more important to be clear about safety.

Our kids desperately need our help to understand that people are very often not what they present themselves to be. They need us to carefully communicate the ways they can protect themselves in private and social situations, and then we need to responsibly refresh their memory about their need to keep those ways in mind.

Passive thinking makes people vulnerable.

To accurately and clearly define what playing nice means is to equip them to defend themselves from getting involved in dangerous situations. We need to unequivocally give the meaning of playing nice for their safety.

• Have we really thought through the information we give our children about their interactions with other people?

• When should we give consideration to both the overt and the subtle messages we send kids to help them be safe?

• Can we be careful enough to communicate what the concept of playing nice involves?

• Are we paying attention to the real messages they regularly receive from the media, as well as from other sources?

• Do we give them a foundation of common sense to work from as they navigate the complexities of relationships in a world that is full of people who spend their time deceitfully playing nice?

What's the Problem with the Concept of Playing Nice?

A back problem that requires boring exercises found me choosing to try to watch the telly as I worked at doing them. Since everything else was trash I thought I would catch up on the latest in children’s programming. After the fact, I both wish I had not, and yet, am glad to know how the current is flowing so I can help begin discussions on the topic by writing about it.

Playing Nice Safely

Butterflies and flowers are part of life, but do we teach truth about staying safe?
Butterflies and flowers are part of life, but do we teach truth about staying safe? | Source

Predators: Skilled at portraying themselves as nice.

The show I caught was supposed to be nice, nice stuff. It was hard to believe that the utterly stupid idea, “be nice and others will be nice to you” is still being taught to children, but there it was.

A much better concept for them to understand is, “Be nice because it’s right, and hope others are nice in return, but be wise because it only takes once to make a mistake about how nice others are to create a forever change in your life."

This particular show’s characters included a group of three cartoon people who were friends, and then a walking, talking shark. The story-line was that all but one of the friends was smart enough to be afraid of the shark.

The third friend was obviously a dumb-cluck who didn’t have the sense to know that he had brought a shark into his inner circle of friends. Once it was explained to him, he, too, became afraid of the shark.

However, all’s well that ends well, right? It turns out that the shark was really just a needy soul who wanted to be friends. He wasn't scary at all!

Take a minute to imagine what it means that this is being taught to future leaders of homes, businesses, and governments. Don't you feel a tangible sense of unease?

The fact that they literally used a shark character should have been eye-opening to parents, but most parents are absent, using these shows as babysitters. They don’t know that their children are learning that it’s okay to trust even a shark who says he wants to play nice.

That a shark character was used made me wonder if the producers knew exactly what they were trying to do to children's thinking. It's difficult to believe they did not.

Avoid the Traps Of Playing Nice!

There is a proverb that mentions the common sense fact that if you embrace fire you will get burned. There is also a hard and fast rule that is often ignored when kids are playing: Safety First!

Safety FIrst!
Safety FIrst! | Source

Passive thinking says, "Maybe it's not true. Maybe if we learned to be nice to fire we could solve all the world’s problems! Words that burn up nations, bombs that burn up cities, bullets that burn up organs, and hate that burns up communities might end if we could just learn to be nice to the fire."

Enough of the nice, nice symbolism. The truth is, in order to be safe we need practical wisdom to fight the motives of those who know that passive thinking makes people vulnerable. Instead of purported progressive thinking as we advance our ability to communicate with each other and other societies, our children need sound common sense.

If our children have any hope of dealing with the giants they will face in a global society they need to know that it is okay to always apply true wisdom to situations that come up–and they absolutely do not need to think that sharks will be nice to them under any circumstances.

The problem is that young brains are not wired for making judgements based on wisdom. It has to be taught because their thinking is basically based on impulse and moments of impulse can result in life-changing circumstances.

~~~~~~ Correct information helps them stay safe. ~~~~~~

Study the Information

In spite of the appearance of being older than they are, young childrens' and adolescents' brain age too often prevents them from making appropriate choices.

On top of that, studies prove that into their early 20s brain maturity can prevent people from making wise choices.

Studies can give parents and educators the information they need to help keep today's young people safe in a world that convinces them that they are sophisticated enough to handle predators.

"I'm old enough to go out where I want."

We can easily study the facts about adolescent brain development.

The Adolescent Brain

The Teen Brain: The More Mature, the More Reckless

Thinking Coping Brain

However, a parent or teacher does not have to be a research scientist in order to determine what the safety needs are or how to respond to them. Teaching children not to follow popular thinking that is rooted in passivity can go a long way in helping them.

Monitoring vs Spying: Make Sure Kids are Playing Nice Safely


Playing Safely

Playing Nice Wisely

Children need to understand that sharks are not nice but only have their own motives in mind--that they can wait patiently, circle harmlessly, enter an area and leave it again, but that they will either return or move on to the next area with one purpose in mind.

Understanding that sharks have no conscience and that when hunting they operate in the calculatingly precise methods of focused predators, that they rarely make mistakes in the hunt, and that they always mean to do what they do is very important knowledge for kids as they grow up.

Playing nice should be a rule for everyone, but predators do not play by nice rules. Allowing children to be indoctrinated with the passive thinking behind friendly shark TV shows is worse than a rule-breaker, it’s a crime against them and the future. It does not help keep them safe because they will encounter sharks.

There's more to it all, of course. We live in a sin-darkened world. We are warned that the path of the wicked grows darker and darker. The kind of thinking presented in this sort of programming, whether it is in an entertainment or in an educational setting, is to be expected.

The important question is whether we are going to continue to embrace that which darkens and degrades us, our families, and our society, or will we turn to where wisdom is found?

Mt. 13:54

Ps. 90:12

Job 39:26

Has this hub helped you reconsider the concept of playing nice?

See results

Safety FIrst!

Playing Safe is an All-Time Concept

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  • Children: The Hope of the Future in a Few Short Paragraphs? Comparing the article titled Child on Wikipedia with its article on whales makes one wonder who thinks whales are going to attend to the future? I happen to think that leopards are really splendid...

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    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 15 months ago from the short journey

      Shyron E Shenko:

      So appreciate that you read this and also that you commented to let me know you appreciated the thoughts! The political season is no time for gullibility, is it?!

    • Shyron E Shenko profile image

      Shyron E Shenko 15 months ago from Texas

      Oh wow, a lesson for kid on playing nice, I wish I had read this before the last local election. I heard "play nice" and "rise above the fray" so many times I wanted to puke (for lack of a better term.) Well the people who were/are for the town rose above the fray and played nice, and the people who are for the all mighty buck, and did not play nice, won!

      Blessings to you my friend

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 21 months ago from the short journey


      Thank you for stopping in and for adding your thoughts to this hub's discussion. Helping children understand definitions correctly is a huge benefit to their understanding of safety.

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 21 months ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I agree we all need to be careful when it comes to kids. The world has changed so much we need to keep our eyes on what they are doing. Everyone is not nice and can't be trusted.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 4 years ago from the short journey


      Thank you for your feedback on this hub. A careful definition of playing nice is important to give to children and teaching discernment for interactions with people should be given a priority.

    • Express10 profile image

      H C Palting 4 years ago from East Coast

      I cannot vote up and useful enough. Many people should be more careful about the messages they instill in their children about interactions with others. There are some parents that cause a detriment within the child because they force the child to be ceaselessly nice to others without discrimination even after questionable or offensive behavior has been displayed. The saying "keep friends close and enemies closer" comes to mind.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Brenda Durham, Thanks much for stopping in and commenting so kindly.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      geegee77, Thanks for stopping in and leaving your comments. I look forward to checking out your work.

    • profile image

      Brenda Durham 7 years ago

      I'm glad I found this hub!

      You illustrated this so well; awesome!

      Yup; keep the Faith and beware the sharks (or wolves) under the "nice" facade!

    • geegee77 profile image

      geegee77 7 years ago from The Lone Star State!!

      I find your hub fascinating and very useful.keep it up you are very good:) ge

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      lctodd1947, thanks for stopping in and leaving a comment. It is foolish to allow children to think that everyone is (or even wants to be be) "nice" for we live in a world that continues to be degraded by human sinfulness. The realities and the solutions are in God's Word, but we have allowed those who hate the Bible to all but eliminate it's wisdom from our educational system. It's replacement is sad business.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Hi Petra, Thanks for the input. We need to think through the concepts that are being taught to children by others who have their own agenda. Wisdom from the whole counsel of God's Word is the need--it is what brings the balance between "nice and strong at the same time." Since posting this I have been reminded of how many cultural proverbs that offer good common-sense have Biblical roots...interesting to think through! :)

    • lctodd1947 profile image

      lctodd1947 7 years ago from USA

      RTalloni; I can relate to your explanation that "all" people are not going to be nice to you or like you, no matter how good you think you are. That is a fact that I did not learn until I was grown and that is terrible. I was devastated...from then on I have had plenty of lessons that other's are not going to always be nice and no matter what; you can't make others like you or be nice. You are right the "real world" isn't that way.

      Thanks for sharing; excellent hub.

    • Petra Vlah profile image

      Petra Vlah 7 years ago from Los Angeles

      Wheather we like it or not, the real world is dominated by "the survival of the fittest" mentality; it has been like that forever and will still be the same in the future.

      I believe people could be nice and strong at the same time if they receive the right guidance as chidren

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Thanks very much for stopping by Pamela99. As well, for leaving some input!

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 7 years ago from United States

      I think this is a very important hub about our children and you picked some very pertinent scriptures as well. Very well written hub.