Little concept. Big lesson.

The other day I was walking with my son when one of our neighborhood’s more  “unfriendly” inhabitants ventured outside. (We all have at least one of those, don’t we?) I smiled, said hello and wished them a good evening. They scowled in return. I, on the other hand, smiled on.

My youngest was quite baffled by this exchange and flat out asked me why I continued to be so nice that person when they clearly wanted none of it.

“Because it matters,” I told him.

“But WHY, mom? Why be nice to someone who doesn’t like you?”

Why, indeed? 

My mother drilled the important of niceness into my head growing up. “Be a NICE GIRL, Jennie.”  “Don’t forget to be NICE to everyone!” And while I never paid it much attention before (I just did it because she told me too), I now believe that the simple concept of being nice is much more important than I ever realized.

Doing something that demonstrates kindness and consideration to another human being sends a powerful message. Being pleasant to someone shows that person that they matter and that you value them and feel they are worthy of love and kindness no matter their attitude or deeds.

And as I told my son, it is not always easy, but it is important. You never know, those  unpleasant people might be the ones who need your kindness the most.

Because, nice really does matter.

(Photo credit: D. Sharon Pruitt.)