Friday, October 28, 2011

The Nice People. The Kind Ones.

She's a nice person. Oh, yes, he's very kind. Phrases that people overuse. Perhaps a rather generic and dull way to describe someone.

But this week I've been thinking about these virtues. I value them above almost all else. I only keep those in my life who possess them. I try my very hardest to live with them always at the heart of what I do. It's never enough. But I try.

Sometimes, at my job, I get to work with young people. And I have the great fortune of working with one such young person who is pure light. Always laughing. Always smiling. Her eyes growing huge when she talks excitedly about all the things that are happening to her. I'm going to have hot chocolate! I'm on the student council! I'm going to learn chinese!

Her mother walks in with armfuls of books she wants to recommend. We thought of you, she says because we all discuss books when we see one another. When will we see you again? She always wonders, a look of geniune concern on her face that we may not see one another for a while. And I'm always surprised that it matters to her. That she cares.

What I'm trying to say is these are the people I am talking about. These kind people. Nice people. This is that mother and daughter pair.

Yesterday I talked with this mother about her daughter. How incredibly alive she is. And she told me that her daughter is so rarely unhappy, almost never upset. But when she is, because of course, it happens, it is an incredible sadness, deep and gutwrenching, like nothing else she sees in her other children. Her daughter just can not comprehend why anyone would be mean to her or anyone else. And it worries her.

It struck me because I remember sitting with my mother at the kitchen table. I don't remember how old I was or what had happened but I was in absolute hysterics. And my mother was getting upset because she could not calm me. I distinctly remember her saying: I worry about this, Melissa. I worry that this is going to be a big issue for you. For the rest of your life. You don't understand that people can be mean.

So, during a week of some disappointment, mean people stomping in and having their way, I think about this sensitivity. This flat out, I'll admit, naivete. And I think about my young friend. And all the other people in my life, who I keep in my life, because they don't understand the mean-person syndrome either. And I don't know if it is an issue. A problem. A worry.


  1. Occasionally I have students like that as well -- students who are so nice and so optimistic and seemingly made of goodness and light.

    I'm torn between wanting to see that innocence preserved -- and wanting to see them develop defenses.

    Because, sadly, they are the very few.

  2. I just adore people like this girl and her mother. There's enough mean cold sarcastic bitter people in the world. Let the nice ones be nice. I wouldn't want to change them for anything, even if running into a mean person might ruin their day. It ruins anyone's day. Remember that bumper sticker from the 90's? "Mean people suck"

  3. My granddaughter 'Sunshine' is so bright and so loving. I worry about her, as she is so giving. Doesn't understand that there are evil people in the world, let alone mean people.
    God bless, Melissa. The world NEEDS people like you and my Sunshine.

  4. I love people like that. They are so rare, but they sure do bring sunshine into our lives.

    And great post! Makes me want to be like that. :)

  5. I wish there were more people like the two you describe here. It really is amazing when you meet one--they are wonderful. (Always makes me wish I were one, but alas, I am not. Not that I'm mean, just grew a thick skin really young out of necessity ;)

  6. I love people like that. I know someone very similar. But then it is so heartbreaking when they're sad.

  7. How wondful that you have met these people. You are right in that there are people who are the very opposite ... and I can never understand why this is so. Often I have experienced these folk, but, like you, I keep the kind ones with me and focus on them in my mind when there is meanness about. Maybe it is how sensitive a person is , becuase I think that some people do not even realise that they are being mean.
    I think that you should treasure these aspects of your character, although you will have to weather hurt in your life, but the light always shines through and diminishes the hurt. I often wonder how much these 'mean' people are hurting inside to behave in this way.
    Thank you so much for sharing your special people with us.

  8. I am so happy that you have written this story. And that you have that little girl and her mom in your life. Let us never understand the mean ones. Let us always lean toward kindness.