I once conducted a funeral for a word. That’s right, a word. True story.
To my credit, it was a particularly offensive word.
It was mid-year, and I confessed to an elementary school teacher friend of mine that I might just have to throw myself in front of a bus if my students used this word one. more. time. to describe a friend, detail a character, tell of an experience or comment on a piece of literature.
What was the word, you ask? “Nice.”
(I know some of you are rolling your eyes right now. Unless you’re a teacher of beginning writers, and then you’re raising your fist in the air with me in solidarity. I see you fellow English educators; I see you.)
My friend suggested the word-funeral, thus banning “nice” from existence for the remainder of the year. (Apparently, among elementary school teachers, this is a thing.)
At first students joked: “Your shirt is so ‘nice’ today, Mrs. Owens.” “That book we’re reading right now is really ‘nice,’ Mrs. Owens.” “Don’t you think the weather is ‘nice,’ Mrs. Owens?”
Soon after, however, students queried, “If we can’t use the word ‘nice,’ what word can we use?”
And that is where the true education began. We talked of thesauruses and word pictures and showing versus telling. It was so exciting, their enthusiasm for better word choice and truer description and sharper detail.
Not too long ago, someone described my family as being “nice.” After resisting the urge to leap in front of the closest public transportation, I listened as the person struggled to explain. “Your girls are so ‘nice’ to each other; they’re so ‘nice’ to you. How did your family get to be so ‘nice?'”
Don’t get me wrong, her assessment of our family made my heart soar! But also, I wondered later, what DOES it mean to be a “nice” family?
The Bible lays out some clear instructions for how we should treat one another — for how to be “nice.” We are to:
- Love one another (John 15:12)
- Be devoted to one another (Romans 12:10)
- Build one another up (Ephesians 4:29)
- Accept one another (Romans 15:7)
- Instruct one another (Romans 15:14)
- Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
- Carry one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
- Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
- Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
- Rejoice with one another (1 Corinthians 12:26)
- Pray for one another (James 5:16)
- Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
If we want our kids to be more than just “nice” to us and to one another and to their friends and beyond, we need to help them understand with truer description and sharper detail what being “nice” means.
And so we offer you Undivided: Living FOR and Not Just WITH One Another. It’s a simple, easy-to-use family devotional that will help you take your entire family through each of the “one another” passages above to see with greater clarity what it really means to be a “nice” family according to Scripture.
Our prayer is that together, you’ll be more than just a nice family … that you’ll be loving, devoted, accepting, encouraging, peaceful, prayerful, forgiving — and that as you grow in these areas, you’ll become a family undivided by the pressures and distractions and temptations of this fallen world.