Or would it?
A long time ago (not in a galaxy far, far away), in a dusty town called El Paso, I began to write in a spiral notebook that I called “a journal.”
On one road trip, maybe it was to Ruidoso or San Diego or Albuquerque, don’t exactly recall (I should go back and look). But on most family road trips, with notebook on lap, pencil or pen in hand, I’d scribble down all of my very important thoughts for the day.
On this particular trip, my mom glanced back and asked, “Hey, so are you writing poison-pen letters back there?”
I stopped mid-sentence of whatever I was writing about and wrote something like, “My mom just asked me if I’m writing poison-pen letters back here. Maybe I am, maybe I’m not.”
Most of my journal entries consist of detailed logs of the day’s events. But intertwined in those daily happenings are my personal thoughts and feelings. The thoughts and feelings I was too afraid or shy or embarrassed to share with people in real life. Good or bad.
So in a way, yes, I was writing poison-pen letters.
Today, in my blog, you will get to read a poison-pen letter about a picture book idea that will never sell. Well, at least I don’t think it will. Or maybe it has, or maybe it will. But since I’m never going to write it, here it is:
Many picture books encourage the lesson of kindness.
I say a realistic, but unpublishable picture book, should teach our children how to NOT be too kind. I know. Sounds really mean, doesn’t it?
This is why.
If you’re too kind, overly accommodating, overly considerate: People WILL take advantage of you. There’s a Bible proverb that says, “Do not … throw your pearls before swine, so that they may never trample them under their feet and turn around and rip you open.”
Our pearls are the kindnesses we show, share, give to others. Right? But it shouldn’t be given to just anyone.
I guess this poison-pen letter, slash blog post, is inspired by recent events in my own life where I didn’t keep this lesson, proverb in mind. I gave my pearls to the wrong people.
But what about random acts of kindness? Don’t we get more out of giving to others than what we receive? Shouldn’t we show kindness, just for the virtue of it, just because it makes us better people?
But here’s a for instance: I was at a drive-through restaurant picking up dinner for the family, about five of us (including my parents). The order was taking longer than expected. I looked in my rearview mirror at the man behind me. Poor guy, I think. There’s only one of him. And now he has to wait.
I asked the server at the window if I could purchase the order for the person behind me. She looked surprised. “Really?” she asked. Soon after I paid and my order was ready, I quickly moved forward, pulled to the side to see the man’s reaction. I hoped he’d be pleased.
Literally, I saw him grab his food and zoom forward. Looking angry, he zipped out of the parking area.
What a bummer.
So my random act of kindness wasn’t for him. But I’m hoping, maybe, the server got a nice fuzzy feeling out of it. Maybe. Who knows.
But my point is: Being kind is a wonderful attribute. It’s a good thing. But it’s also tricky.
Is there such a thing as being too nice. Would this be a good picture book? Well, probably not. How do you teach children how to be kind, but not TOO kind?
This is a tricky one, isn’t it?