Have you ever thought about the difference between being KIND and being NICE?
Are they the same to you?
And if not, how are they different?
I was the new kid in school a LOT when I was young – my dad was a coach, so we moved around quite a bit. When I was in the 4th grade, we moved to a little town and I discovered the difference very quickly.
Emmy (whose name has been changed here), was the most popular girl in the school and happened to be the first girl my age that I had met since moving to town.
The first week we visited the little Baptist church there, Emmy and her mother walked up to us. Her mom gently pushed a very reluctant Emmy toward me, who said, “Hi, I’m Emmy,” and smiled sweetly at me.
Not so fast, my friends.
The next day was the first day of school, and that same Emmy sat at the end of the lunch table with a group of girls, loudly making fun of me. (Being the new kid was just not fun, y’all.)
The girl sitting next to me, Amber, was deaf, and since I didn’t know sign language at the time, we had not talked much. But she must have picked up on what was going on, because she rolled her eyes toward Emmy and the mean girls, then introduced herself and told me she liked my Jem and the Holograms t’shirt. (What can I say? I was a child of the 80’s.)
In an instant, I knew what real kindness looked like.
Nice was Emmy saying hello when her momma made her.
Kind was Amber welcoming the new kid when others weren’t so gracious.
Amber and I ended up going to school together through high school, because even though my family only lived in that small town for a year, she transferred schools to attend the deaf education program in Abilene where I went to jr high and high school.
Her kindness that day stuck with me, even all these years later.
Maybe you too, know what kindness really means because of how someone treated you in a moment you needed it most.
As we wrap up this series what it means to Bear Fruit, it was only fitting for me to sit down with one of my sweet friends, Kerri Thompson, to explore what Kindness looks like, and how listening – really, truly listening to another person – is one of the simplest ways we can show kindness to other people.
Give it a listen, and then let me know where you’ve seen kindness in your world.