And yet, I've always considered myself to be one of the nice girls. I've diligently instilled the nice principle into my children's psyche. Or at least I've tried. I guess that's because I've never really been competitive. I suppose I didn't mind finishing last as long as I got a chance to smile at everyone while they passed me. So it surprises me still that more than one of my children has grown up with the attitude that is basically akin to "If he didn't want me to punch him, I guess his face shouldn't have been in the way of my hand." Competitive to the Nth degree and not very nice.
There is a great Sondheim song from Into the Woods, sung by the witch who is trying to talk the other characters into giving into the demands of an angry giant in order to save mankind. The lyrics go like this:
You're so nice.
You're not good,
You're not bad,
You're just nice.
I'm not good,
I'm not nice,
I'm just right.
I'm the witch.
You're the world.
I love this song because it reminds me that nice isn't always good. In fact, it can sometimes be the opposite. After all, God doesn't call us to do "nice", He calls us to do good. Actually, I think we may be called to do more than that. I think we are actually called to do "right". The right thing is not always the good thing or the nice thing. And a person can certainly seem like a witch when the world is so busy trying to be nice, they forget to be right. It kind of makes me want to channel my inner witch.
I think the thing that makes me the proudest is to know that my kids usually do the right thing. Ok, so they have also been to known to weigh the right thing against the funny thing and come out laughing, but most of the time they choose right. While they don't normally actually punch people in the face, they are pretty good about not taking on someone else's blame. Which is a good and right thing, too.
I asked a very wise man once why the nice ones keep on being so if they are always going to be last. His answer--because some of us want to get to heaven. I have to say that I think nice would probably get you there. But so will good and right. The important thing is to head in that direction. And when we get there, I know it will be nice. Very, very nice. Maybe even pleasant.