Just Be Nice

by Stefani on 6-April-2009

Dandy. Lion.

Over the last few weeks, I've been witness to some plain old fashioned meanness. Oh some if it's been directed at me, some of it at other mamas in this bloggy world, some of it towards people I love and some toward people I don't know at all. I guess I could say, "What is the world coming too?" but it's nothing new, not really.

Times get tough, people get stressed out and some folks just feel like lashing out I guess. Still… I don't see how meanness helps matters. 

It brings to  mind the very first time that I left the house with my first child. We were just running to the grocery store for a few things, but it seemed so monumental. It was just me, just going about my life, doing this ordinary thing, but now I had a CHILD, and that changed everything. Stepping out into the world with my baby felt akin to jumping out of a plane. 

It didn't help that my poor boy hated the car seat with all his might from the word go. He would scream this awful, purple-faced, barely breathing scream when you strapped him in, and he would not let up until you took him out. It made going to the grocery store a very, VERY big deal. 

So there we were, both of us crying in the car, and me pleading with the stoplight to just for the love of God change to green so that I could two-wheel it into the parking lot and free my babe from that awful seat. 

It didn't change. We sat and we sat and he screamed and I cried and held onto the wheel with white knuckles. I'm sure it was only seconds, but it felt like hours before the light finally did turn green. To make matters worse though, the beat up old car in front of me did not move.  It was a red four-door and the fabric on the headrests was all torn up. The driver was an older man, bald, with a few meager threads of hair carefully oiled and pressed over his shining pate. Well I was THIS close to losing it all together and laying on the horn. I mean seriously, the light was green, my baby was about to explode and there he was just taking in the scenery! But then I had the oddest thought – that bald headed man was once some mother's bald headed baby. 

The thought of it just made my heart do flip flops. It made him seem fragile too – another life that needed protecting from this big scary world. It occurred to me this fella was nearing the end of his life probably. Of course his mother was surely long gone, but she had loved that head with all the desperation that I loved the boy in my backseat. The poor guy seemed so alone then in his beat up car, and it just scared me to think that my boy might be that man someday… that he would be alone and fragile and maybe frightened and people would have no patience for him. 

It was only a few seconds. He noticed the light and drove away. I  never knew his name, or where he was headed, but I think of him from time to time. 

Every now and again I see his shiny head  and it reminds me… we are all someone's child. Under all the hair, we are all bald. Each one of us is just trying to make our way. Each one of us falters sometimes. Each one of us needs a little grace. 

So without going into details or pointing fingers or passing judgement, I'm just going to ask you this – is there some stuff that you could just let go of? If someone has got your goat, could you just maybe back up and ask yourself if it's worth going to war over? Is it worth adding more meanness to the world?  That person that's on your last good nerve, who has rubbed you the wrong way, who is in your way, could you maybe give them a break, even if they don't deserve it? Cuz really, why not? Why not just assume there is more to the story than you know? Why not just give someone the benefit of the doubt? Why not listen and love?

I mean yeah, some things are worth fighting for. Sometimes you need to draw a line in the sand, but more often than not I think, we just need to chalk some stuff up to human frailty and love on people anyhow. You know? 

Just sayin'.

 It would be a lot nicer world I think, if we looked at all people, even the annoying ones, as someone's beloved. 

One Wish

Mommyknows April 6, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Well said!

Sarah April 6, 2009 at 11:16 pm

*big sigh of weight being lifted off shoulders* I really needed to hear this, I bring a lot of negativity into my life by worrying so much about what others do wrong and though I never say anything to them, it has a big impact on my life. Let’s just let it go.

Amber Carrillo April 7, 2009 at 12:24 am

So true – thanks for the reminder 🙂

Melanie April 7, 2009 at 2:48 am

Here here! Very VERY well said! And kisses and hugs to you 🙂

Diahn April 7, 2009 at 3:45 am

Lovely, beautiful, wonderful words.

Kerry April 7, 2009 at 4:00 am

A beautiful way to share a good reminder. A bit of a shame that it had to be said though.

Vintage Chica April 7, 2009 at 4:46 am

Oh girl…oh, sweet mama. I love you.

Carrie @ Between Hitching Posts April 7, 2009 at 4:49 am

Thank you for that. After being angry at just about every person in our home yesterday for not picking up after themselves on “Clean the House” day, I now realize there are better ways to spend a Monday. I guess I should give my tiny family an apology & do something fun today.
Thanks again.

Michaela April 7, 2009 at 4:49 am

very nice reminder, thanks for such a thought.

Diane April 7, 2009 at 4:51 am

A-men.

Amy April 7, 2009 at 5:02 am

Yes.

tara April 7, 2009 at 5:18 am

I second that.

Dawn April 7, 2009 at 5:23 am

Wonderful story! Lovely way to make a point!

emily April 7, 2009 at 5:44 am

amen.

Kayla April 7, 2009 at 5:50 am

This was perfect, thank you!

Tara April 7, 2009 at 5:50 am

Oh how those words should be framed!
Amen!
Love how you have been gifted with writting.

Mandy April 7, 2009 at 6:00 am

What a great post to read. I have a similar post going up today and oddly enough it includes a dreaded trip to the grocery store. I was the bald man and a single stranger I had never met was my Stefani. She changed my views on things that day and I never saw her again. I have since tried to conciously make an effort to be the change I want to see, as corny as it sounds. What a world it would be if we were all a little nicer to one another.

Butzeballchen April 7, 2009 at 6:29 am
Brittany April 7, 2009 at 6:31 am

Thank you for your words and insights. I continue to be amazed by your wisdom.

Marissa April 7, 2009 at 6:37 am

thank you thank you

Patty T April 7, 2009 at 6:38 am

Amen sistah! I’ve had similar ah-ha moments when my kids were babies. Kids really changed how I viewed the human race. I loved everything you wrote!

jessica April 7, 2009 at 6:44 am

So good, Stephani. In those moments I’ve got a mantra “be love, be love, BE love…” to remind myself that more than anything, that’s what I want to be– to radiate love in any situation, to make my children, my friends, my neighbors, and the grouchy lady scowling at me and my brood of 5 kids (with one or two screaming) in the grocery store feel that their day is a bit better because I love them.

Crazy, maybe, but it feels so much better and peaceful than getting mad and mean.

Miko's Girl April 7, 2009 at 7:00 am

Maybe it’s the yang of spring — G is having a horrible time with meanness at school. She petite, shy, and pretty (my husband says some of the boy meanness is due to boys having a crush on her). Blessed are the peacemakers…

Cassandra April 7, 2009 at 7:01 am

Amen. A little more love in this world, a little more patience, a little more kindness and compassion. It wouldn’t hurt us one bit.

Suzanne April 7, 2009 at 7:01 am

I stopped by to tell you how much we’re loving April’s Book of Days and you made me recall a time when I was at a circus in a line and someone was so mean and rude to me. For what I don’t know–didn’t like waiting too long, maybe I bumped them , who knows? But this guy behind me (whom I thought might be totally stoned:-) said, “lady, don’t let anyone take up any space in your head, it’s not worth it”. I have remembered that young man and those words and still smile whenever I think of it…LOL!

Stefani April 7, 2009 at 7:10 am

Oh hon. I’m sorry. I have those days too. We all do. It’s a new day, and I hope full of fun!

Stefani April 7, 2009 at 7:11 am

Back atcha sister 😉

Kate April 7, 2009 at 7:26 am

What an important lesson to remember. Thank you for sharing it in such a beautiful way!

Em April 7, 2009 at 7:39 am

We’re going through a lot of stress at our house lately, and it’s hard for me to remember to be nice sometimes. Thanks for this post. I need to remember it as we trudge our way through this tough time.

melissa April 7, 2009 at 7:43 am

stefani, you are so, so good.

Tracy April 7, 2009 at 7:49 am

Thanks for the reminder Stefani. Sometimes I think we all need it. 🙂

Katharine April 7, 2009 at 7:52 am

You’ve hit on my personal philosophy. People around me are sick of hearing it but truthfully, from the adults we struggle with, the kids that trouble our children, panhandlers on the street, those who harm and hurt others, they were all somebody’s baby. Everyone had a Mama. Everyone is somebody’s baby.

Stefani April 7, 2009 at 7:54 am

Oh I’m sorry to hear that Em. Hang in there! Just keep thinking about that sweet miss tutu of yours. That’s enough to make any day a little brighter 🙂

Stefani April 7, 2009 at 7:56 am

Oh that’s good. That’s really really good. I might need to print that up and hang it over my sink!

Stefani April 7, 2009 at 8:00 am

I never will understand that… How some boys think picking on a girl is going to impress her. Poor girl. And poor boys! They have so much to learn!

Stefani April 7, 2009 at 8:01 am

Exactly! Sometimes it is so hard, but it always feels better!

Stefani April 7, 2009 at 8:02 am

Oh thank you for that!
Love love love that poem!

heather April 7, 2009 at 8:09 am

you’ve said it all, damn you’re a wise soul.

Valarie Budayr April 7, 2009 at 8:18 am

Ah Yes…..so perfectly said. Thank-you.

Gudrun April 7, 2009 at 8:22 am

Absolutely….

Wylie April 7, 2009 at 8:49 am

Thank you so much, Stephani, for these beautiful, wise words. We have recently had some very (and I mean, very) unpleasant interactions with a neighbor, and while venting to my friend this morning about this person, I suddenly realized that I needed to pray for this unpleasant man. I agree with Jessica, too, that we need to radiate love to everyone we come in contact with. Certainly would make the world a much nicer place!

gina April 7, 2009 at 8:54 am

well said, my dear.

Fiona April 7, 2009 at 9:25 am

Hear, hear.

Kelly April 7, 2009 at 9:29 am

Thank you so much for this post! My youngest sister has made some really bad choices in the last several years which have effected our entire family, sometimes me the most directly. I have learned over the last year or so that treating her with an attitude of grace is so much better for all of us instead of harboring a bunch of anger. It’s not always easy to choose grace but always better. In turn, her attitude is better, she’s making better choices and things are good. I’ve also found myself treating others, not just my sister, with a lot more grace. I have been given an awful lot grace from Someone and it’s made an eterntal difference so why not pass it on?
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this!

Anne April 7, 2009 at 9:36 am

I believe that it is entirely no coincidence that you posted this on the day that I needed to read this. I’m visiting family right now and it’s hard meshing into someone else’s world, expecially when they have such very different priorities and unrealistic expectations of what family should do for you. The last few days have been a struggle for me, and your post is my reminder from above that I need to focus less on someone else’s actions and more on my own. Thank you.

amanda April 7, 2009 at 9:38 am

Beautifully put. We all need a reminder now and again.

Relyn April 7, 2009 at 9:47 am

You have me crying. Again. Can’t say anything yet. Still crying. I’ll be back.

Jen April 7, 2009 at 10:19 am

Beautiful. You have me in tears! Thank you for making me pause, step back, and think about what kind of energy I want to be sending into the world. Bless you.

Missy K April 7, 2009 at 10:46 am

A lovely post. Really beautiful. And the answer, of course, is yes. Because we all live in the world, and we all travel in our own orbit, and we all fall sometimes into thinking of others only in terms of how they relate to what we want to do.

Such a good reminder for a pause. . .

jodie April 7, 2009 at 10:56 am

YES!

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