October 29, 2010

if we cannot be clever, we can always be kind.

I had some friends over the other night for a church meeting and they ended up staying an hour or two later as we talked about friendship, marriage, children and the like. We got on the subject of personalities and I brought up the Color Code. I am fascinated with personalities and feelings (blue much?) and we started to discuss some of the good and bad traits of each type. 
brother, Stephen (5), and me (2).
One of my friends brought up the fact that she has a hard time with passive aggressive behaviors - "if you have a problem with me, say it to my face!" I have heard this sentiment many times before and I have to say that I can appreciate the virtue of being honest and forthcoming. On the other hand, I have a really hard time when I hear someone say that they're "being honest" just so they can say what they think about someone without being responsible for their actions or the effect it has on other people's feelings. Somewhere along the way, people started to think that this so-called "honesty" trumps kindness and I don't feel like that's the case.

I respect people who can gracefully bring up something (including criticisms) that will help strengthen a relationship, a home or someone's life but I really respect the person that doesn't say anything when it's something they can't change. It is so admirable to see someone brush off another's fault or annoying habit and love them anyway. There are circumstances and behaviors that shouldn't be ignored but I would say that most are. And if it should be changed, is it my job to change it? Is it my job to criticize? Is it my job to judge? The only person's faults or annoying habits that I should try to change are my own.

I was at my bishop's house on Sunday for a meeting and saw that he had a piece of paper hanging on their family bulletin board with a quote on it. It said something like, "Think about what you are about to say or do and unless it will bring forth positive results, don't say or do it." I've been thinking about that quote and the responsibility I have to become the kind of person who lives this way so that my children will be kinder, more forgiving and more loving.

“But,” you ask, “what if people are rude?"
Love them.
"If they are obnoxious?"
Love them.
“But what if they offend? Surely I must do something then?”
Love them.
The answer is the same. Be kind. Love them.

- from a wonderful talk that I love.


  1. I love the talk and your wise words to go along with- so many applications to me as a wife and mother and in my calling at church. Thank you so much!

  2. I love this post Liz, so much so that I am going to tag it to my blog:) The quote from your Bishop is just perfect!
    By the way: Blue is the only way to be:):)

  3. thanks for this. i needed it this morning. my sis and i have a love-hate relationship and it's good to be reminded of how i should REALLY act/think. if only it was easy....

    -from a red-blue

  4. I very much agree, however I know that my biggest personal revelations have been because someone was honest with me. At the time it hurt my feelings, but I was able to examine my personality and see if their (rude) criticism was something I wanted to change about myself. For some reason the really rude people are who have made the most difference in myself.

  5. Delurking here:
    I love this quote, and first came across it through my absolute favorite parenting book by Dr. Glenn I. Latham, "The Power of Positive Parenting." In his book he phrases it this way: "Unless what you are about to say or do has a high probability for making things better, don't say it and don't do it." Just thought you might enjoy knowing the source of the quote.

    My sister-in-law (whom I love and completely respect as a parent) introduced me to this book and it was such a great help in showing me a better way to discipline and teach my two boys (ages 6 and 7).

    You have such a beautiful family. Thanks for sharing your sweet spirit with the rest of us.

  6. My husband was thrilled that we made it into your blog. The quote indeed does come from the book "The Power of Positive Parenting" as listed in the comment above. I also love his book "Christlike Parenting" which goes through the same principles, etc. but from a gospel perspective. I love your blog!
    Mary Beesley

  7. So true! I think there are very few people who want to hear criticism from others. Praise goes so much farther, and God knows, none of us are perfect.
    Enjoying your blog.


Comments are moderated to eliminate spammers and internet bullies.