Being nice to someone does not require great efforts or big sacrifices, however, we miss out on creating change in our world. Being nice is so simple yet we have been programmed by our society to fight for our place in this universe. From childhood we are told we have to be better than the our classmates, we have to be first no matter what. We have to succeed even if it means pushing someone out of the way. We are always competing for the best piece of the pie, constantly weighing what could be our benefit that we miss out being part of the world community.
Josh Reid Jones the founder of the Just Be Nice Project gives credit for how he escaped his family’s cycle of violence to his best friend’s father Greg for changing his outlook in life. He did it by encouraging and supporting an impressionable young boy who had only violent male role models in his life. Greg was able to overcome the negative impact of his own father’s behavior and change the family history of abuse.
Like Josh, I too was fortunate to have my best friend’s parents, Aunt Amy and Uncle Nolasco in my life. Their home provided a safe haven from the turmoil of my chaotic life. I was accepted and treated with warmth and kindness. Whenever I went to their home Aunt Amy would always make something for me to eat which meant a lot because it was always something tasty since she enjoyed cooking. I spent nearly every weekend at their home. When I look back I know I would have totally gone out of my mind if I did not have my best friend’s home to go to. I not just retained my sanity but also deep down did not lose my faith in God and humanity.
Josh states, “Never underestimate the importance of just being nice, being a good example, being consistent and checking in on those around you. Never underestimate the importance of taking the time to earn the trust and respect of those around you by practicing what you preach, because you never know who is watching. Sometimes we spend too much time looking to “save” people in very visible distress, and forget to look after those who may be silently having a tough time right next to us.”
How important it is to first be nice to the people closest to us, our kids & family
When I am down, and, oh, my soul, so weary
When troubles come, and my heart burdened be
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence
Until you come and sit awhile with me (Lyrics You Raise Me Up)
Just being nice to someone doesn’t take much effort or sacrifice. It is easy with a little effort and compassion for one’s fellow beings. But believe me it can change lives. I don’t think I would have survived the abuse I went through as a child if it were not for my friend’s parents. According to research about childhood trauma, all of the risk factors for adverse experiences can be offset by one thing: the presence of a stable, caring adult in a child’s life.