I know children say the funniest things, but most of the time they ask profound questions as well. Why are You Nice? is one such question.
One day as I was walking with a kindergartener out to recess, she turns to me and asks “Why are you nice?” I have to admit, as we were walking I had to bend down to hear her. And then I couldn’t completely understand her. So I repeated back to her what I thought she was asking. And like most kids, she said no, “Why are you so nice?”
I must admit—the question caused me to pause. Not only was I surprised by such a question but I really did have to think about an answer. As we continued to walk on out to the playground, I replied that I had been taught to be nice. When I replied that I was taught, she said, “In Kindergarten?” and I said Yes.
My reply was a half truth. Yes, I did learn manners, kindness, etc from my Kindergarten teacher. I also learned it from my parents. They were the most formative in developing how I interacted with people.
To be honest, her question floored me. Is “niceness” such a rare commodity these days that our children see it as an anomaly that is causes them to wonder? I guess it must be. I see children everyday who need a “nice” gesture. Lots of times I high-five the kids as they walk down the hall. I try to always greet them as they walk into the school (as well as parents and teachers).
It is a question that is haunting me in light of recent events in the world. The political climate is nasty (to say the least), apathy runs the day when it comes to working on problems that are easily solved (such as hunger), we are numb with the violence surrounding us trying to lay blame and continuing on as if we can’t do anything about it.
For me, her question is a wake-up call. I hope I can listen and discover how to put more “niceness” or as I would like to say kindness in the world. Will you join me?