Monday, February 24, 2014

Nice vs good

Vito's favorite bedtime story now is Wreck-It Ralph. The other night, it occurred to him that the bad guy (Ralph) was actually the hero in the movie and that the Nicelanders (the sweet, normal folk Ralph had for neighbors) were the cruel and mean ones. So Vito asked, "Mama, can nice people be evil?"

And, because I'm brutally honest, I said, "Yes. Not all, but in my experience, it's the nice people you watch out for."

Tonight, Vito asked for "Raf stowy" again and this time he asked, "Why are some nice people evil?"

And I told him what his father told me: "Because they are afraid. They're afraid of new things, of different things, of change. They feel threatened that their way of life, their way of thinking, their beliefs will be challenged. Not all nice people are like that but usually the nice ones like everything to be perfect, so when someone looks different or acts different or lives differently than they do, they get very afraid. And you know what Master Yoda said about fear, right?"

Vito nodded in the dark and said, "Afraid then mad then hate then sad!"

Wreck-It Ralph with the nice people of Niceland. Even perfectly nice guy Fix-It Felix isn't really a good guy
since he completely failed to see Ralph's suffering for 30 years!

I've always let Vito trust his gut when it comes to people. Some people he instantly likes, some people he just can't. I don't force him to like everyone. In fact, when Vince and I notice that Vito doesn't like someone, we find out later on that that person is a bad person. The Spidey sense of that child is pretty sharp.

Meanwhile, I'm a very bad judge of character. I think it's because I'm a girl and I was trained to be pleasant and tolerant. All my life, this has resulted to me being used and abused by so-called friends. I'm very picky with my friendships as a result. Despite the fact that I'm the friendly sort, I have very few friends, and you'll know you're one if you've eaten at my table, I've spent time at your house, or if you know certain things about my marriage and kids. I may spill my guts all over my blogs and tell my life story to complete strangers, but the secrets of my marriage and my kids, I protect ferociously. A lot of people think they know a lot about my husband and my boys but only my friends know our problems, our fears, our hopes. All of my friends are as transparent as me (they also all happen to be the eldest girl in their family!), but I trust them with my deepest hurts and joys. And these words will never be used to describe them or me: "She's a nice girl."

Nice is different from good. Nice people try very hard to be nice. That's because they desperately need you to like them. They need approval, they need to belong, they need affirmation. They need something. I've seen that good people are just good. They don't pursue the need to be loved or accepted or affirmed because their very goodness attracts all that. They are secure.

I hope my sons learn to discern who is good and who's just nice. It's very hard to do this. Until now, despite my caution, I still get betrayed by so-called friends who talk about me behind my back and then are super nice to me to my face. I hope my kids learn to love their fellow man without fear or suspicion but have the wisdom to guard their hearts from such nice-but-nasty people. Sadly, I don't know how to teach that as I am learning this myself.

*image from HD Wallpapers

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  1. Like you, I fear for myself that I may be a bad judge of character also. It's hard to discern this immediately, and while I don't blame my parents for letting me all on my own at 18, I do feel bad about it sometimes that I had to learn lessons all by myself.

    But hey, reading this reminds me to be more careful, so thank you for that. :) And I can imagine Vito saying the phrase "Raf stowy," it's just so cute! I really should watch this movie.

    PS: I'm the eldest so I'm hoping to be one of your friends! =)

    1. You are one of my friends, silly! =)

  2. Very wisely said. I'm sorry you were hurt by so-called friends. :( Left you a comment/PM pala in Facebook.

  3. Hi Frances,

    Another blog post right after my own heart. I guess I'm what you can call good but not nice. Its one of my waterloos in the corporate world. I am judged negatively because I speak my mind and don't hide behind politics. Thank you for this post, somehow it made me feel better knowing that its not just me you understands this.

  4. Spoke to me as if you were describing me, not you. I am very machika, super daldal, mukhang "nice" but I have very very few friends. Less than 10, actually. Totoo, some nice people could be really dangerous.

  5. Once again a very honest post, that's why keep coming back to your blog. :)
    Also made me "google" the opposite of nice - mean, unkind, disrespectful, rude, selfish, etc. etc. I'm not any of those but I do agree that people see me as "not nice". And I say "people see me" because personally, I think I'm nice naman they just don't see it beyond the honesty and candor. But in any case, I'll settle with being a "good person" than being a nice one any day. :)


This is all pretty new to me so please feel free to share your mommy wisdom!