At my California high school, my best friend Jeannette and I lived parallel lives: Advanced Placement classes, trivia competitions, swimming and track. We were nerds, sort of, but also jocks, sort of, and as a result were pretty much never invited to parties. Instead, we’d siphon small amounts of liquor out of five or six bottles from her father’s cabinet, combine it all into a Nalgene and go bowling. She felt deeply uncool. I thought we were awesome.
I puzzled over the difference in our perspective for decades, only recently realizing that I felt perfectly acceptable, though not totally accepted, because I knew what it meant to be truly unpopular.
In elementary school in St. Louis, I’d had a best friend, Kim. She routinely informed me, “I am your best friend, but you aren’t my best friend.” That honor went to her next door neighbor Brenda, who went to a different school. Oh, how I longed to be Brenda. But I was happy enough to be included in Kim’s group at school, which included Heather, Jessica and Amanda. We did sleepovers. Birthday parties.
A few years ago, if we were out together and I noticed that you had something stuck in your teeth, that little speck would spark a huge dilemma for me. I’d stare at it while considering the discomfort it would cause both of us if I told you, yet also imagine your horror at discovering it after a full day of flashing what you thought was a perfect smile.
Despite this awareness, I’d likely avoid our discomfort and let that little speck remain ― I’d choose the “nice” option.
The kind thing to do, though, would be to tell you, despite the brief moment of embarrassment it would cause you and, vicariously, me. Niceness is dishonest and avoids confrontation, whereas kindness is honest but often uncomfortable.
This scenario exemplifies what I’ve learned about the difference between being nice and being kind. I’ve spent the majority of my life being nice — a people pleaser — avoiding confrontation and the discomfort I’d feel from making those around me uncomfortable.
My moment of greatest shame around this was over a decade ago when I essentially broke up with a boyfriend of two years over text because I couldn’t handle having an uncomfortable conversation with him, not that day or any day of our relationship, which would have been the kind thing to do.
I even convinced myself that this was the nice option, allowing him to receive the bad news privately without me there to witness his reaction. But in truth, I was hiding from his discomfort, and thus my own.
Avoiding his discomfort made me not only cruel but also a coward. But confrontation, outside of political or philosophical topics, was scary to me. In romantic relationships, it felt like a deep threat ― like a guaranteed ending rather than a space to reach greater understanding or to simply to accept differences. I wasn’t in touch with myself or my needs and, in fact, I felt guilty for having any, especially if they would hurt someone else.
Technology is saving a little girl’s life through artificial pancreas development. No more finger pricks and checking sugar levels every two hours. Parents receive Godsend news just as they are at their wits’ end trying to manage their six-year-old child’s illness.
Charlotte Abbott-Pierce was a normal little girl full of life and spunk until she began showing symptoms of an underlying disease. She became thirsty, lethargic after eating, and needed to use the bathroom frequently.
A second grade teacher created a writing assignment for her students that is helping local shelter animals find forever homes.
Teacher Kensey Jones asked her students at St. Michael’s Episcopal School in Richmond, Virginia, to draw pictures of animals at Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC) and then write letters from the perspectives of the animals themselves to try and help them get adopted.
“The class was working on persuasive writing, and they wrote pieces as if they were speaking on behalf of the shelter dog trying to get adopted,” Christie Peters, director of RACC, told Fox News.
Isn’t it strange that in most places the only humans you are legally allowed to hit are children?
As of March 21, all forms of physical punishment against children (such as smacking, hitting, slapping and shaking) is illegal in Wales.
The law change was hailed as “historic” by the Welsh government and a number of child protection champions, who called for England to follow suit.
The law will apply to everybody in Wales, including visitors.
“Today is a historic moment for children and their rights in Wales as we make physically punishing children a thing of the past,” said Julie Morgan, the deputy minister for social services, who has campaigned for the law change for more than two decades.
According to Welsh Government surveys, parents of young children in Wales have shown a significant shift in attitude over the past decade. For example, in 2019, 70% of parents and guardians of young children in Wales disagreed that it is sometimes necessary to smack a child, compared with 59% in a similar survey in 2018.
Four Bengal tigers have been rescued from captivity and will spend the rest of their days in a big cat sanctuary in South Africa.
The tigers lived in a train car converted into a cage in the Argentine province of San Luis for over 15 years.
A traveling circus abandoned the now 18-year-old male and 15-year-old female tiger in San Luis in 2007. A local farmer agreed to look after the pair for a temporary period, but the circus never returned. They eventually had two cubs.
The tigers, named Sandro, Mafalda, Messi and Gustavo, now call the LIONSROCK Big Cat Sanctuary in Bethlehem, South Africa home.