When I was younger my parents divorced, and we moved in across the street from my grandparents. I spent a lot of time at their home. So much so that my aunt and I, who is only six years older than me, would treat each other as brother and sister. This meant that although we loved each other we also fought as siblings fight. It also meant that we came to enjoy many of the same things.
I remember that little box on top of the TV with the glowing red numbers. Before my grandparents got it, we would click through the same five channels never actually finding anything to watch unless it was Saturday morning cartoons. Now, suddenly, there were thirty channels still with nothing to watch. There came few exceptions. I preferred TBS to WGN, so I quickly became a Braves fan, never missing an at bat from Dale Murphy.
And then there was MTV. This was the MTV that actually showed music videos. Not the one that decided that reality shows about 16-year-old moms was a good idea. We would patiently wait for Downtown Julie Brown to announce the newest and latest from all our favorites like REO Speedwagon, Duran Duran or The Culture Club. Our all time favorite had to be Michael Jackson and none more than Thriller. We had our loafers and yes, we had the pennies. We would find ourselves in my grandparent’s front room practicing the moonwalk around their orange valor couches.
Then one day something happened to MTV. They decided to make the first “reality show” that I can remember. The Real World was introduced to the public. I don’t remember ever watching an episode or if we were even allowed. I do remember the ads and the slogan. “When people stop being polite…and start getting real,” popped up during every commercial break.
Did any of us see what was coming? First, a society obsessed with “reality” TV. Second, a civilization that has become so fixated on being polite that they have forgotten their standards and willingly embraced the shortcomings of a misguided culture. Obviously, the direction that we have gone cannot be blamed on The Real World.
I have found that the definition of words is important. Meticulously choosing the correct words allows for specific discussion that eliminates any confusion. Because of this I often find myself seeking out the origin of many of the words spoken in our modern language. It’s caused some words to become more meaningful in my life while others have become drastically cringe worthy.
One word that has become as nails on a chalkboard for me is “nice”. I’ve actively tried to remove it from my vocabulary altogether. Rarely does my family use it as we have attempted to replace it with “kind” whenever possible and whenever applicable. While I may not always be called polite, I would prefer it to being called nice. With such animosity toward the word, I chose to study it to determine if my opinion was simply unfounded. Oddly enough my instincts weren’t far off.
I have regularly said that I don’t believe that Christ was nice. Kind, but not nice. I have been annoyed to hear when people speak of members of my faith and refer to them as “such a nice guy”. I find it frustrating when others say to just be nice. What is this preoccupation with being nice?
This cringy word that I felt was such an insult actually started off that way. This French word that originated in the 1300’s meant, along with many other negative terms, foolish, weak, ignorant, timid and unaware. It was the insult given to the easily compliant, simpleton. I felt validated, even if it did originate in France.
Knowing the meaning, being nice should never be an option. Perhaps The Real World was onto something. Maybe being real is the correct path. Now when I’m told to be nice what I hear instead is, “be timid, and allow myself to be fooled.”
Being nice has created a society of a cowardly people. It's allowed others to not only force people to accept their opinions but adopt them as their own. It has created a false dichotomy that tells us that a happy wife makes a happy life, making men defer to every whim of their wife rather than being the patriarch and partner they were intended to be. It is being nice that has caused women to avoid asking men to fulfill their roles. It has caused others to refuse to stand by their beliefs for fear of being “cancelled”.
It is being nice that has allowed strong men and women to be led by a weak woke mob. Continuing to be nice will only lead us further away from correct principles because they may offend someone else.
How long before we stop being nice and start being strong? When will you choose to defend what’s right no matter the consequences? We don’t have to be offensive or disrespectful, but we do have to stop being nice.
Are we not ready for a society that defends the foundations that this country was built upon? It begins in the home with what we teach our children and the examples that we set forth. It's about understanding who we are, where we came from and why we are here. It's about creating a generation that isn't easily offended but words. Strong children grow to be strong adults.
For hundreds of years we have been told to be nice. Each nice generation created more compliant and complacent generations. Ones that would rather go along to get along. To save our children and our children's children, we must stop being nice.
I’m okay with being called just about anything, but don’t call me nice.