and I have some knickknacks around the house.
that’s not true. In the strictest reading, yes, knickknacks. But
an overall household tour would reveal that many of them are absolute
treasures for us. Memories of travels. Mementos of growing children.
a good portion… sure, knickknacks.
are a few of those wooden signs just about all of us have seen.
Little phrases which were pretty much all purchased because of
an inside joke of personal significance.
have one in the kitchen that says this: “Because Nice Matters”.
kicked and screamed and pitched a tantrum about buying it, never
mind my reaction to the request for hanging it. (Maybe not a tantrum,
but I was definitely making fun of it.)
the time Terry was picking it out, it most certainly did not seem
like nice mattered.
out work for examples, nice didn’t matter professionally at the
time. A place where all of the selfish jerks that behaved miserably
seemed to be the ones getting their way. I was nice. I put in
the extra effort. I smiled and shoveled all the manure that headed
downhill. And… nice did not matter.
time though, I’ve grown to appreciate that sign. Not because I’ve
won the lottery or come across some magical way where tangible
and measurable successes could be attributed to being nice.
character matters. And nice is a part of that.
I’ve been digging around the archives of my writing. Pulling out
old notes and unfinished drafts of things. Looking over materials
stored in folders and saved in computer files. I came across one
called “Would Jesus…” that I wrote about twelve years ago.
original essay was written when I stumbled across a couple of
those stories and comments and observations we get treated to
every so often. It began by wondering if Jesus would head out
to the movies. It continued by wondering about Jesus and his potential
support as a consumer of specific retail outlets. And I went a
reaction was essentially to design a list out of current headlines
and news articles, attempting to show that the Jesus I’m aware
of wasn’t—and, sure, isn’t—a disparaging jerk. More to the specifics,
while I may not be the most religious of people, if asked to outline
his character I would head toward words like kind, caring and
compassionate. In essence, Jesus would agree that nice absolutely
think the problem in all of this is our own individual, personal
expectations. We expect dessert after eating all of our vegetables…
we expect praise for our accomplishments… we expect a reward for
yeah… and, it doesn’t work that way.
is not a currency. It’s not something that can be exchanged for
winning lottery tickets.
the essay about Jesus and trying to update it with some outrageous
news and thoughts was difficult. The end result isn’t perfect,
by any measure. But, it made me see something that has been swirling
around within my thoughts over the years.
have always tried to be nice. I’d like to think I’m seldom selfish.
I’d like to think I’m thought of as someone with good character.
None of that can be measured by the car I drive.
shown in the love I have for family and friends. It’s shown in
the strength of my relationship with my wife. It’s shown in two
great boys that I was around to watch grow (and maybe, just maybe,
had a small role in guiding as they did).
matters. (But you’re going to need to figure out how and why it
matters on your own.)