Engaging Each Day with Action Words

Vow. — Be Nice and Do What I Say.

on March 27, 2013

The night before Felix and I were to be married, there was a task that needed to be done.  A task neither one of us wanted to do. In retrospect, 13 years later, it was SO not a big deal. But at the end of a few very long days that included running away from a hurricane and all of the preparations that go into a wedding and ceremony where we did most of the planning and preparation ourselves…the task seemed monumental and overwhelming.

I begged Felix to take care of it for me. He clearly didn’t want to and had his own valid reasons. Exasperated, I finally looked at him and said, ….

“Be nice and do what I say.”

I can’t remember if we laughed about it then,  because I’m sure it felt a little like an argument at the time.  But over the years, it has become the motto of our marriage. A mantra of sorts. A phrase that shows up to end silly arguments and discussions to this day.

Be nice and do what I say. 

Now that I reflect back on our vows, I wish we had just said these words:  “I love you. Be nice and do what I say. You may now kiss the bride.”  It would certainly have been surprising to all of the wedding guests that got all dressed up and brought presents for the big day.  But I think they might have all appreciated the short ceremony, so they could get right to the real party and celebrations… and … dancing!

I love you. Be nice and do what I say.”  Simple, yet powerful. “Be nice” … act in such a way that will make the other person feel good. Another way of saying this: Just don’t be mean.  Be intentionally… nice. Think before you speak. Know how something will impact your loved one. “Do what I say“ each other. Listen to requests. Do the things that the one you love hates to do. Try to make the other person happy.

These are not hard concepts. And may be the secret to a long, happy marriage. Let’s hope so, since I’m banking on it.

Today, the Supreme Court has begun hearing the arguments related to rights around same sex marriage. I’m not much of a politician. Felix takes care of that department.  I know enough to carry on conversations with the general public, but I generally avoid conflict about such hot button, politically and religiously charged topics. And I will do so here as well.

But this one. This one is personal. So I feel obligated to speak up in my own MommyVerbs way.

Let me put it to you like this—a few years ago, a colleague and friend taught me this lesson. I have taught it to others…of all ages… again and again and again. The lesson is the best kind…just like my revised vows: simple, yet powerful.

It looks like this: I have all of the students sit in a circle. I give every one a band aid to hold. Then I tell them we are going to play a little game where I am going to ask them to tell me that they ‘hypothetically” got hurt on the playground and they get to pick where they are injured…on their  knee, on their elbow, on their finger… you get the picture.

I start with the first student, really playing it up…in my best Mommy voice, “Oh my goodness, what is wrong, where are you hurt?”

“On my shoulder.”

“Oh no!  Well let me take a look and fix you right up.” Then I proceed to take their band aid and put it on their shoulder where they indicated the fake boo-boo is. “All better?”

Then I go to the next person and do the same thing. However, this time, the student tells me that they are hurt on their knee.  I make over them and tell them how sorry I am that they are hurt…and I take their band aid and put it on their shoulder.

Then the next student tells me that they hurt their finger. I console them and make them feel better by putting the band aid on their shoulder.

And so on and so forth… Every student has a different need. A different injury that may or may not require a different remedy. And certainly not a band aid in the same place as the person beside them to make them feel better.

But everyone was treated the same. Everyone was treated equally, right? So, what’s the problem?!

It didn’t make it right. They each needed something different.

And sometimes we confuse the ideas of being treated equally (under the law) and being treated fairly (under the law) with what is just doing the right thing.

Here’s the thing. Equal doesn’t mean it has to look the same. And fair doesn’t always mean equal.  We all need different things. Love looks different to different people. Marriage looks different. Fair and equal… it all comes down to…we should get what we need. We love who we need to love. We accept people for who they are, what talents they have, what beauties, what faults…. and who they love.

Making sure everyone gets what they need. Overwhelming or not…That is our task.

Equal doesn’t have to look the same as everyone else. It doesn’t even have to be fair in everyone’s eyes. But it needs to be right. It needs to be accepting.

Do the right thing. … And then know this: “I love you. Be nice and Do what I say.”

Let’s All, Go. Do That.

equal sign


8 responses to “Vow. — Be Nice and Do What I Say.

  1. rarasaur says:

    I loved this. Simple and true. It’s an adage we should all hold to our hearts in general– be nice, do right, accept. Nicely done!

    • MommyVerbs says:

      Rara…Thanks so much! I believe it…We don’t all have to agree. We just need to move toward understanding each other. Better. And taking care of each other. Better.

  2. Lead Our Lives says:

    BEAUTIFUL! Heart-felt and heart honoring. You have such a loving gift. Tears of joy and love are in my eyes. Thank you for such a beautiful start to my day. Sharing this with my personal friends on Facebook and on my Lead Our Lives Facebook page. Love-ly…as in Love is a verb. 😉

  3. Amy says:

    I adore this post. LOVE IT. Very well said.

    • MommyVerbs says:

      Thanks so much! I appreciate the feedback–It is something I feel strongly about and I’m glad to know it resonated with some folks. I hope you are enjoying and engaging your day! ❤

  4. Nick Whelan says:

    Yo Mommy, no need to accept/publish this comment but your blog got reviewed on our site. Feel free to check it out if you want. Peace, and keep up what you’re doing 🙂

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