My Mom always said, “Kenny, If you can’t say something nice, then don’t say anything at all.”
I suppose many growing up in the 1950s and early 60’s heard similar instructions from their mothers as well. That same, solid, sound advice could use a revival in today’s polarized culture with its toxic rhetoric.
Today, June 1st is a good day to begin because it’s “National Say Something Nice Day” according to the holiday calendar of unusual, weird, and wacky holidays.
According to their web page, Say Something Nice Day was inspired by Dr. Mitch Carnell’s book, “Say Something Nice: Be A Lifter at Work.” And was proclaimed by Mayor Keith Summey of North Charleston, S.C. in 2006 to counteract bullying, the lack of civility, and promote common courtesy.
The wise man in the book of Proverbs has a good bit to say about the importance, impact, and value of saying something nice.
Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
sweetness to the soul and health to the body
To make an apt answer is a joy to a man,
and a word in season, how good it is!
A word fitly spoken
is like apples of gold in a setting of silver.
Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down,
but a good word makes him glad.
The wise of heart is called discerning,
and sweetness of speech increases persuasiveness
Furthermore, it’s claimed there is scientific evidence that saying something nice improves your health, lowers stress levels, and releases endorphins that make you feel better and helps you relax. One study even suggested that people who not only say nice things but are actively involved in volunteer work for worthy causes live longer.
Regardless of the side benefits of saying something nice, the New Testament admonishes Christians to engage in conversation that encourages, edifies, and lifts others up.
“Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear” (Eph. 4:29).
“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person”(Col. 4:6)
“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing” (I Thess. 5:11)
Saying something nice costs nothing. But it’s an investment in the lives of others that produces a reward both to the giver and the receiver.
Say something nice by acknowledging someone’s achievement or success.
Say something nice to a brother or sister in Christ whose faith, hope, and love have made a difference in your life.
Say something nice by expressing appreciation for a friend or co-worker’s positive personality traits.
Say something nice to your children for a job well done.
Say something nice to your spouse for the little things they do daily to make your home more pleasant.
Say something nice to someone who serves you today for their friendly and extraordinary service
Say something nice and smile to a complete stranger whose eyes lock with yours while passing.
Say something nice to an antagonist who’s been unkind to you.
Say something nice to a friend from your past (through a phone call, text message or email) who’s touched your life in a positive way.
Say something nice to your social media friends on facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tik Tok, Pinterest or Snapchat.
Say something nice to everyone with whom you interact today.
In the words of Aaron Neville, “Be honest, be nice, be a flower, not a weed.”
Say something nice.
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman