It’s one of the first things every mother teaches her kid. Or should.

“Play nice. Don’t hit little Jimmy with that shovel. Don’t take Ellen’s doll. Play nice or other children won’t want to play with you.”

Apparently, mom’s lesson went in one ear and out the other. Because no one remembers how to be nice anymore. Civility has vanished. Everyone seems to be on some kind of weird narcissistic power trip where only their needs, their opinion, their feelings matter. Screw everyone else. It’s all about me. Only me.


Mother — yours and mine — had a point. If you don’t play nice with the other kids, they won’t like you. They won’t invite you to their parties. They may not like you anyway, but if you’re mean and hit them and take their toys? They definitely won’t like you.

We’ve been binge-watching “Scandal.” As we head around the bend into the final few shows of the fourth season, I looked at Garry and said “If they weren’t so horrible to each other … if they weren’t always spying on each other, threatening each other, torturing and killing each other … they wouldn’t have so many enemies. They wouldn’t have to watch their backs all the time. If they were just nicer to each other, a lot of problems would vanish. All it would take is simple civility.” Of course it wouldn’t make a very interesting show, but that’s a completely separate issue.

Which is not, apparently, all that simple.

Love in theory

And not just on the TV series. In the real body politic. On a national and international level. Everyone is so adversarial, nasty, cruel, ugly, dirty, mean-spirited. They’ve forgotten the old “you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar” thing. Not that I ever understood why you’d particularly want to attract flies, but obviously, that’s not the point.


What it — and all our mothers — meant is that being nice often works out better, gets you what you want in more situations than being unpleasant and contentious. When I watch television and they show reporters attacking the people they are supposedly trying to interview, I remember that Garry never attacked anyone … and he always got his interview. Because he knew that some chit-chat — friendly conversation — would get him a better interview than an attack.


We should all get back to basics.

Please. Thank you. Excuse me. Like that.

Not hitting each other with shovels, verbally or otherwise. Our world could be a fine place if we would just play nice. We are in the sandbox together. We might as well make an effort to get along.

You think?

Categories: Culture, Friendship, Government, Love, Photography, Politics

Tags: , , , , , , ,

24 replies

  1. It’s the self-centred, I’m-IT attitude of modern society that does it. I half wrote a post about humility a while ago but shelved it. Would anyone these days get their heads around the concept?


    • The worst people always seem to get the biggest headlines. I want to believe we aren’t completely hopeless. Pop psychology and magazines promote selfishness like it’s a good thing … and I figure people love having a righteous excuse for doing what they want to do anyhow. I’m hoping we are going through a bad phase, currently a nation of two-year-olds who have learned to say “no” and “me” … but not “yes” or “we.”

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s a sad state of our lives when enemies, bitterness, jealously, backstabbing and other nasty stuff are what makes popular television. Apparently nice people don’t make for good ratings. I remember a teacher constantly telling us that if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything.


    • Sometimes, it’s hard separating reality and fiction. I know that a lot of what they show on TV is nonsense. The world is NOT like that. Reporters, for example, would never survive and get stories if they behaved like the TV serial versions of themselves. I think most people do not go into police stations, get accused of murder, yet still mouth off at the cops. I’m betting this confuses young people, too. Art imitating life or life imitating art?


  3. It is so fitting that the roses are yellow and I think they are a symbol of peace. Amen to that.


  4. The world might have changed, especially if you look at it through a TV Series or movies, but many people still are nice.
    As for me, I don’t like unfriendly people and I don’t like people who talk down to people. It’s hard to be friendly or “nice” when others are not.
    There is a saying in Europe “The echo sounds bad because of you,” and I didn’t get that as a child. No it makes perfect sense. “The tone makes the music,” so to speak. It’s surprising how many people smile back when you smile. It’s although surprising how many people are nice, when treated nicely.

    Liked by 1 person

    • One of the real pluses of NOT living in a big, bustling city, is that people are generally both more polite and friendlier. This is New England, so they don’t necessarily invite you in for coffee, but they willingly chat with you on the street, in shops, everywhere. Country and small town people are less paranoid. Less in a hurry. More willing to stop and listen to a story and a different opinion. I like it a lot. That’s the other thing. Why is everyone is such a constant hurry? What different will a few extra seconds of minutes make … really? I always wonder why so many people always seem to be on the run.


    • Ladybug, I find that friendly chit chat usually elicits a like response from strangers. Simple things like not hogging aisles in the supermarket, complimenting someone on their appearance (I usually preface such remarks with a woman by saying, “I hope you don’t mind but I just wanted to say….”. Usually the person is minimally delighted and it’s a mutual feel good moment. And, always, I offer a “thank you..and YOU have a good day” to store employees. Basic stuff, I think.


  5. I may be crazy, but that rock formation looks a little like a roaring lion. Or maybe it’s a roaring politician with a bad toupee…

    Liked by 1 person

    • It looks like something, depending on which direction you look at it from. It’s actually the top of a larger hill which is part of the ancient lava flow. Back to the time when these lovely mountains were actively spewing lava all over the place. Wherever they were, they left these weird looking rock formations. I wanted to take even more picture of them, but they didn’t look as interesting in pictures as they did to the eyes. They are full of pockets, some the size of caves, others more like mail boxes. You see them up and down the mountain ranges.


    • Squirrel, you have a keen eye. I just took a second look at that rock formation. Believe it might be one of Trump’s “cousins”…their family version of Mt. Rushmore.


  6. Yes I agree Marilyn. Let’s all get back to basics. The world would indeed be a better place.


  7. I agree. It may be boring but I like nice.


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