My Parents Taught Me To Be Nice, Not To Be Kind
I grew up a little bit rough around the edges. In the middle of our small city, a jeepney terminal across the street made catcalls normal, and nighttime violence like stabbing and gunning happen often enough that we just move to the next room and shrug it off.
It did not help that I grew up at a time when terrorists are active, and Red Alerts—imminent danger—made it difficult for us to be out at night. I saw someone got shot in front of me, and after being shaken up for a few minutes, my friends and I went on our way to continue partying.
I grew up rough around the edges, but that’s part of the environment I grew up in. Today, as an adult, I listen to my parents at the dinner table and realized that while they are good people, they are not always kind. Maybe it’s also because of the time they grew up and the environment they had.
My parents scold me when I fight back or act sassy around authority figures (like teachers). They tell me patience is a virtue. They are prayerful, but like many religious people, they choose the passages in the Bible that they feel they should follow. They are homophobic and racist, yet they tell me not to be judgmental.
My parents taught me to be nice to people. They didn’t teach me to be kind. Kindness is something I am still trying to learn. Like my initial thoughts don’t have to be the first thing that’s said, especially if it hurts people. Like keeping my mouth shut when commenting on something that nobody can change in the next five minutes. Like asking people how they’re doing and really listening.
Like doing something good without having to announce it to the world through social media. Like trying to suppress all my anger (and I have plenty of it) or letting it go in a healthier way.
I grew up rough around the edges, and few people tell me that I have a big heart or that I’m kind. I’m trying my best, but it’s hard. Kindness does not come easy, and it probably won’t ever be.