A bit of wisdom I've seen floating around Facebook is, "If you have a choice between being right or being nice, always be nice." (quote attributed to Dr. Wayne Dyer)
Which, for the most part, seems like sage advice. It certainly feels good.
For example, on the highway, if most motorists would drive with this in mind, many accidents would be avoided.
You may be right to not exceed the speed limit, but to enforce that by doing so in the passing lane is less good than the disruption caused by doing so. Be nice.
You may feel the right to defend your position in a lane from someone who didn't use turn signal but that is less good than letting someone in. Even if they act like jerks and speed up to get in front of you. Be nice.
But what about the times that you need to be right at the expense of niceness?
As a parent, I really want Joshua (and unnamed future draft picks) to have some solid principles that are worth ruffling feathers over. More importantly, I want my kids to have the courage to stand on conviction in the face of being considered "not nice," and the wisdom to know when that is appropriate.
Which brings me to the current hot topic du jour of bullying. I agree that bullying is a problem. I also think that the solution is much more complicated than any school program can address. There is a real heart-and-home level problem. And nice kids simply choosing to be nice will not solve that.
My fear is that having a mantra of being "nice instead of right," diminishes the real-world need for principled people. Eventually, then, standing up for what is right becomes being a bully, because it isn't always nice. It isn't that big of a stretch. We are already at a point where simply accusing someone of bullying requires (by official policies) actions, reporting and monitoring by administration-level school officials.
Labeling like that is a step down a path toward lots of very bad unintended consequences.
I will tell you about my bullying experiences later, but I can say that I am thankful for the bullies I've faced in my life. Chew on that.
Anyway... much prefer Mark Twain as a source of quotes to the feel-good Dr. Dyer. Twain said, "To be good is noble, but to show others how to be good is nobler."
And I would say, It is OK to be right. And be nice about it as much as possible.
OK then. Anybody out there intentionally teaching your kids to stand up for what is right when it matters (and when it might be unpopular)? How? Am I the only one with an aversion to feel-good-isms?