Reflections…………………When is nice —-too nice?

20160614_092005 (2)John receives a monthly welfare check,  full medical expenses, a free cellphone, food stamps, and a housing allowance that pays his monthly rent.  John is most proud of his “Air Jordan’s” which he wears with pride.

Jim at the age of 15 is a sophomore in the local high school.  He recently acquired his driver’s permit and his dad assures him when he turns 16 he will have a car of his own.  Jim has an IPhone, IPad, a laptop computer and a television for his room.   His room looks as if the last hurricane made a swipe through the middle. Only on rare occasions is his bed made.  The walls in his room are covered from floor to ceiling with posters of every description. Jim’s dad can be seen wheeling the garbage to the curb every Tuesday giving Jim an extra hour of sleep.  The lawn care crew arrives on Wednesdays.

James, at the age of six, has begun to exert his independence.  James is a child of privilege and has more toys than Santa Claus. Periodically James’ parents make room for additional toys by giving his old ones away. For James sixth birthday he received a motorized four-wheeler. In the late evening James’ mother can be seen picking up toys and trying to find a place to store them.

Is it possible that being too nice leads the James’ of the world to become the John’s of the world?   When is nice, too nice?  Have we failed to teach the values instilled by our former generations into our youth of today?  Are we creating a dependency for our youth?

One of my favorite exercises for the “Parent Seminars” I frequently lead is to have parents write the characteristics they desire for their child upon graduation from high school.  Once we have defined the characteristics, we emphasize the first step is to model the behavior and be able to measure it as the child grows.  In other words, we can see the desired behaviors in our children as they grow.  Don’t leave your child’s core values to chance or to the culture.  The proven path to a purposeful, positive, productive culture is to be specific about performance and values then hold everyone accountable every day. Ask yourself this question, how well defined are my household values?

 When is being nice, too nice?  It is not that you are trying to be mean.  It is when your behavior ends up complementing behavior, often silently, when you should be speaking out.  Too much niceness validates disappointing performances by making excuses for others.  I have actually heard ‘leaders’of corporations, schools and especially parents’ explaining why poor performance is acceptable.  Invariably, too much niceness leads to mental blowups. 

Unfortunately we are in a culture where accepting low performance is met with excuse making.  Many times we are more concerned with ‘being liked’ and ‘keeping the peace.’ When you are honest and seek to make changes in a timely fashion following the core values you wish for your child, everyone will grow and improve.  One day at graduation, marriage or in the child’s career you will be heard saying, ‘that’s my child!”









REFLECTIONS………………..When is nice——too nice?


Retired in 2008 after 40+ years in education/psychology as researcher, teacher, administrator and college professor.
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2 Responses to Reflections…………………When is nice —-too nice?

  1. Gloria Chandler says:

    It is concerning these days to see youth think they are entitled to whatever they desire without earning any of it. It is also concerning to see these liberal colleges coddle these youth. You wonder what our world will be like when they are the ones in charge. It is time for parents to once again instill the work ethic in these children as well as other values that our nation has been built on — honesty, respect, to name two. I think we are all tired of these protests and want our nation to calm down and get on with the business of good government, respect for others, and life.

  2. James Mitcham says:

    Nice article and very true.

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