I'm done raising nice kids. I know that sounds out of character. It sounds weird. Who doesn't want their kids to be nice?
Me. I don't want my kids to be nice. I want them to have godly character. I want them to be kind and polite. I want them to be compassionate and concerned about others. But I also want them to be strong and not afraid of conflict. I want them to stand up for what's right. And I don't think that's compatible with always being "nice."
Dictionary.com defines nice as pleasing or agreeable. On the surface that sounds good, but when we start to think about it, do we always want our kids to be pleasing and agreeable? Do we want them to focus on pleasing others and being agreeable to everything. I've discovered that I don't.
I recently read the book Odd Girl Out: The Hidden Culture of Aggression in Girls, which, even though it's not written from a Christian perspective, is a must-read if you have tween or teen girls. The premise of the book is that girls do some of the things that they do in their friendships because society says it's not acceptable for them to engage in open conflict. While I didn't agree with everything in the book, the premise is an interesting idea that got me thinking about the way I'm raising my girls.
As I read that book, I realized that I spend too much of my parenting time focused on raising "nice" kids and not even time focused on raising kids with godly character.
You see, the world's idea of a "nice" child is one who agrees with others, one who is accepting of all ideas (even if they're wrong), and one who doesn't create or participate in conflict. The more I study godly character, though, the more I realize that being "nice" doesn't equal being a child with godly character.
This week, we're going to look at what it really means to teach our kids to have godly character. We're going to dispel the myth that we have to raise "nice" kids and instead we'll focus on raising kids who look like Jesus who sometimes wasn't all that "nice" (after all, He's the guy who turned over the tables in the temple and often called out the pharisees).
But today, I want to give you my reasons that I'm done raising nice kids:
1. Being nice isn't always possible. When we tell our kids to be nice to others, we set them up for an impossible task. Sometimes, our kids need to stand up for themselves or for someone else. They can't do that if they're constantly trying to be pleasant and agreeable.
2. There's a difference between nice and kind. The Bible tells us to be kind to each other. Our kids can always be kind, even when speaking the truth that may hurt someone else. They can't always be nice.
3. I want to raise kids who are world-changers. I want my girls to be people who speak out against injustice. I want them to not be afraid to do something because it's not what the world expects. I want them to change the world for Christ. That means they can't always be accepting of the lies the world tells. It means sometimes they'll have to deal with and perhaps even stir up conflict. Those things go against the world's definition of "nice."
4. I don't want my girls to run from conflict. I think the biggest destroyer of tween and teen relationships is the inability to appropriately deal with conflict, especially for girls. Nice kids don't get in fights and have disagreements. But Jesus never ran from conflict. He stood up for the truth, but He did it in a way that drew people to God instead of pushing them away. That's what I want my girls to do.
All this week, we'll be looking at each of these ideas in more depth. We'll look at the way Jesus lived and we'll learn that being nice is not what God calls us to. Did you know the word "nice" isn't even used in the Bible? I hope you'll join me in this series this week and you'll invite your friends to join the conversation by asking them and yourself this question. What kind of kids do you want to raise?
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