“I Am the Nicest Girl in the World”
Kid makes bold claim to strangers at Rodney Playground
Kina came home yesterday and told me that she met some new friends at Rodney Playground, and that they had played together, and that she told them that she was the nicest girl in the world. This came as a surprise to me, since I don’t necessarily think of Kina as the nicest girl in the world, though it could be that, to the rest of the world, she is the nicest girl. It is comforting, nonetheless, to know that this is Kina’s personal brand, even as her private life suggests a slightly more brutish inner voice. I hear a lot about this Nice Kina when I meet the parents of kids she plays with—how polite Kina is, or how gentle. I even see it at the playground when she’s off on her own; she’s made a promise to be nice, and she lives by that promise.
I remember making a similar promise to myself in seventh grade. I’m not sure what prompted the thought, but I recall thinking to myself, “I choose to be a nice person”—a random and ambitious thought to have in music class at 9:30 in the morning, but it seems to have stuck. Whether or not I’ve lived up to that promise (and I have failed spectacularly at times), “I choose to be a nice person” has been my own private personal brand for most of my life.
I wonder if that’s really how it feels to Kina, like a choice, or if it’s what she sees reflected to her. I want her to feel nice and to understand that it can be powerful to be that way. I want her to understand that she doesn’t always have to be nice, if it isn’t reflective of how she feels inside. Mostly, I think it’s wonderful that this has value for her, and that she’s willing to celebrate it with others. Kina is much nicer, as a four year old, than many adults—even when I take her occasional foul moods into account; I hope she holds onto it, and that the people around her are the nicest people in the world, too.