Sugar and spice. And everything nice.

Sugar & spice & everything nice, etc. Remember the poem? It may sound fluffy by today’s standards, and one could argue that it has an air of gender-bias to it, but I believe the lyrical list of things “girls are made of” had its heart in the right place. Who cares if it …

… comes off as cliché? Nice is good. Nice spreads smiles. Nice is, well, nice!

So if you count “nice” among your attributes, girlfriend, don’t fight it—flaunt it.

Happily, we nice girls are not alone. In fact, there is a lovely endeavor underway that is aptly named, Operation NICE. It’s the brainchild (heartchild?) of Melissa Morris Ivone, a good-natured graphic designer from Philadelphia. The gist? Operation NICE promotes proactive pleasantries by connecting, cheering, and challenging people who are working to make the world a nicer place.

“Think back to the last time someone waited an extra second to hold the door for you,“ Melissa encourages on her website. “Or when a friend mailed you a greeting card for no reason. Or when a stranger bought you a cup of coffee or paid for your toll on the highway. How did it make you feel? Chances are it brightened your day. That’s all it takes, one small gesture.”

Recently, hubby and I traveled to the big city (Spokane, WA) on business. As we were coming out of a large department store, he held the door for a young woman pushing a baby in a stroller while holding the hand of a walking toddler. She said thanks and we started for our car. Suddenly, he turned and bolted back through the door into the store’s giant foyer between the two sets of doors. He’d remembered that she still had another set of doors to go through.   

That’s the kind of gesture that inspired Melissa to get radical about good manners. It all started when she was waiting for an elevator beside a man she didn’t know, and as the elevator doors opened, she hesitated to allow the man to enter. To her surprise, the gentleman motioned for her to go ahead, saying with a chuckle, “You didn’t really think I was going to walk in here first, did you?”

The rest of the day, Melissa’s spirits soared a little higher, and she imagined, “What a great world this would be if everyone had that kind of consideration for others. A little nice goes a long way.”

And so Melissa launched Operation NICE, a website chock-full of feel-good stuff: stories, campaigns, ideas, tools to download, e-cards, and an “I’m Very Nice” badge to boast on your own blog. I particularly like the Operation NICE Assignments. She recently challenged readers to create a simple handmade gift for someone, inspiring a flurry of cookie baking, sock monkey sewing, and mini book binding. How nice is that?

Okay, I know your wheels are turning. Are you contemplating your next act of niceness? Check out the ideas on Melissa’s NICE Tips List and share your game plan.

  1. Paula Boyea says:

    I regularly bake cookies (or other goodies) for the police officers in our village.
    My daughter Alicia, a cake sculptor, takes goodies to her local fire department.

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