This morning I attended weekly chapel with my kids at their school. At the end, one of the kids from student government shared an “inspirational quote”:
Choose being kind over being right, and you’ll be right every time.
I was happy that both of my 10-year-olds immediately looked up at me with a questioning glance. This is the kind of secular wisdom that sounds good but has layers of problems. Like other quotes of this nature, there is some truth, but it’s also very misleading. Today’s world is all about being “kind”—according to a very secular definition of accepting every person’s own definition of kindness. There’s no longer a concept of truth with gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15).
This is so important for kids to understand, so I came home and made a series of questions I will give my 10-year-olds to write answers to this week. I told them they will earn something for their extra work (extra computer time for my son and extra allowance for my daughter). If they were older, I would ask them to think through it all without these leading questions. If you have older kids, I encourage you to ask them to respond to the quote on their own and talk through this. With younger ones, feel free to use these questions for your own discussion.
- What is your first reaction to this quote—does it sound consistent with what the Bible teaches? Why or why not?
- This quote assumes that a person must choose between being kind and being right. Do you agree that this is a choice that must always be made? Why or why not? Give an example to support your answer (and a Bible verse or story if you can think of one).
- There are times when it is not very important to be “right” and it’s more important to simply show kindness. For example, at recess, you might know that you tagged someone out even though they disagree, but it’s not worth hurting a friendship to insist for a week that you were right. What would be another example of when being right is not as important as being kind?
- Now imagine for a moment that you have a friend who likes to hurt himself/herself. You tell them that God created them, loves them, and doesn’t want them to do that. They then get mad at you for not being “kind”—they say, “If you were nice, you would just leave me alone to do whatever I want!” Do you think you should choose to be kind according to their definition—leave them alone to hurt themselves? Why or why not?
- Is there a way to be kind and be truthful with a friend who is hurting himself/herself? If so, how would you do it?
- From these examples, we can see there is a word in this quote that is really important to define. What is it, and why does it make a big difference?
- Read the quote again. Do you agree that if you choose being kind over being right, you’ll be right every time? Summarize your thoughts from having answered the previous questions.