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The Kindness Revolution

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2021 2:00 am

The Kindness Revolution

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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March 23, 2021 2:00 am

What character qualities mark your life? On FamilyLife Today join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson as they talk with author and podcaster, Nicole Philliips, about the positive physical and emotional effects that a life of kindness produces.

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Nicole Phillips considers herself a kindness advocate. She believes kindness is contagious, but that doesn't mean she's always kind herself.

I told you, you were supposed to clean this up. And Charlie's friend says, well, I guess kindness isn't always contagious. This is Family Life Today. Our hosts are Dave and Ann Wilson. I'm Bob Lapine. You can find us online at

So is there anything we can do to cultivate a heart of kindness so that when we are provoked, kindness comes out instead of an eruption? We're going to talk with Nicole Phillips about that today. Stay with us. And welcome to Family Life Today.

Thanks for joining us. We're talking this week about kindness. You described your wife as the kindest person you know, but you said it wasn't always.

Oh, do we really have to go here? All that matters is she is the kindest person I know. That's all that matters. The past is the past. I was not kind. She was not kind. We struggled in early years of marriage. But I'm telling you, I live with a positive, life-speaking woman. It is the greatest gift God's ever given me. I wish she could say the same thing she's supposed to be saying right now. And I live with a positive husband.

But you notice she's not saying that. Was it evolutionary? Did you slowly convert to kindness? Or was there an aha moment for you?

Yeah, I think there were two things that happened. One was my very best friend and sister died. And before she died, this is kind of this crazy thing, but I remember being in the hospital room.

I'm going to get emotional talking about this. We sat on the bed and we told each other everything we loved about each other. Like I said, you have the most amazing skin.

I wish I had that skin. She said, I wish I had your hair. I always wanted your hair.

That sounds so weird. But we just blessed each other with our words. And after she was gone, I thought, I'm so glad I told her everything that was good in her. And I spoke it out and I reminded her of that. And after she was gone, I thought, I'm going to do that from now on. Because I realized I had thought a lot of good things about people. And I didn't share them because of my own insecurity. And I felt like I was in competition with people and especially other women. Like, oh, I don't want them to get a one up on me. And so I'd keep these things inside when I saw how amazing these people were.

But after she was gone, I thought, I'm not going to hold on to that anymore. I'm going to speak life into people. And I tell you what, you want her walking in your room because that's what she does. She lights up a room. And there's times I'm like, OK, honey, you know, you don't have to speak all these great things to that stranger over there that you don't even know.

And you can just see that stranger or a good friend. Their whole countenance changes because they feel blessed. Well, I feel like God created every single one of us. And so he sees the greatness he put into us.

But the world continues to just beat us down and we forget and we start believing lies about ourselves. And so if Jesus walked into the room, he would remind us, this is who I made you to be. We have got Anne's, you know, my friend sitting right here. Nicole Phillips is joining us on Family Life Today.

Welcome. Oh, I could just sit here and listen to Anne talk all day. Like, I don't have anything to say. Let's listen to her. No, you are so good, Nicole. Nicole is an author. She's a speaker. She's a former TV journalist. And a Miss Wisconsin, did you say?

In 1927, yes. That means you are a badger. Oh, I was a badger. She writes a syndicated newspaper column called Kindness is Contagious and has written a book by that name and another book called The Negativity Remedy. And you had a kindness revolution. We talked about it. If people want a kindness revolution, they need to go to the mall in Fargo, go to Dinoland.

Because that's the place, that's kind of the Mecca where all of this kindness stuff happens. I was just curious, when you had this kind of epiphany, and we talked about it earlier this week, did your husband, did Saul the basketball coach notice something's different about Nicole? So he didn't notice at the moment of the epiphany when I came home, because I've been known to come. I'm an Enneagram 7, you might say, so I've been noted to come home once in a while. And Anne and Dave, you're 7s?

Both are 7s. Both of you? Oh, no. I know, I know. So basically what that means is I can't wait for the next thing. I'm excited about whatever's coming next.

And so I have been known to come home and be excited about my latest big idea. My husband, when I started writing the Kindness is Contagious column, said, I give it six months. And he's very supportive of me, but he said, I give it six months. And I said, what? And he was teasing me and he said, yeah, within six months, you're either going to, you know, people are going to stop sending you their stories of kindness or you're just going to get bored of it. You'll be onto your next thing. And you'll be onto your next thing. And so I, as a wife, always want to make sure I prove my husband wrong.

And so it's been 10 years and I'm still writing that column. You're proving him wrong. But did he see you start to be a different person as you were interacting and thinking and focusing on kindness? He did.

He did. And it wasn't all good, Bob. It really wasn't because what happened was my behavior started to change because I got to know Jesus and I maybe became a little too serious in my walk with God and lost some of my fun because I felt like that was what God wanted from me. How did that affect your marriage? So I used to be the girl who would love to drink a lot and dance on tables, you know, just have a really, really good time being crazy. And I would lose control. And throughout our marriage, I would lose control and black out and have more serious repercussions from my drinking. And my husband would say to me, just drink less, like, no problem, you know, whatever.

You don't need to be pounding them down. But on one particular time, after all of this kindness revolution started in me, my husband and I went out and I publicly embarrassed him at a bar. And I came home. We came home and the next morning I woke up and he came into our bedroom and he very gently said to me, you owe me an apology. And I just said, I know, I'm sorry.

And he turned around and he walked out and I rolled over in the fetal position and I just started to cry. And I just begged God to take it away, like take away my need to drink, take away this hangover. Please take away the shame that is coming out of me right now in the hurt that I've just caused my husband.

Please take it away. And in that moment, talk about an epiphany, in that moment, I said, okay, if you really have a purpose for my life, then I give it to you. I surrender. But then I had to get out of my bed and say to my husband, I've decided I'm not going to drink anymore. And he was like, well, you don't need to do that.

Just drink less. We really enjoyed our time sitting on the couch having rum and cokes together. That was a fun time for us to connect. So we had to learn new ways to connect.

He had to pick up the slack because at 830 at night when that urge to drink came to me, he had to be the one to put the kids to bed so I could go to bed before it became overwhelming. And so he's now married to kind of a new person. He's married to a new person. Yeah, like this is the only Nicole he's known. And now you're different.

Yes. And so it took a little while for us to kind of find our new ground, find our new stability in that. But the fun thing is, is that he has seen what that has meant to our household. There are no tantrums in our household, at least by mom. You know what they used to call me, Ann?

I don't know if this will resonate with you or not, but Saul used to say to the kids, watch out, Mount St. Mommy is about to erupt. Yeah, OK, so Ann's not responding. So apparently she has never been that unkind.

No. Oh, there are a few. There's a hole in the drywall. There's a hole in the drywall in the wall. It's in the book. Oh, it's in the parenting book. It's in the parenting book. It's coming out soon.

You're going to want it. Yeah. OK, I'm so glad to hear that.

And yeah, Mount St. Mommy is about to erupt. So what happened was my husband noticed that there were no more tantrums from mom in our household. And even the way that I spoke, you know, I guess God got a hold of me and all these little behaviors kind of fell in line. I wasn't gossiping. I wasn't complaining. I never, I totally stopped complaining about him.

You would not hear me say something negative about my husband to a friend or to someone else. And I stopped nagging him. That's huge.

It is huge. And I bet your husband noticed that. He noticed.

He noticed. But then it was interesting because as a basketball coach, he has a lot of players that he deals with that he mentors all the time. God has been really sweet about helping those players who maybe are dealing with depression or dealing with substance abuse or dealing with negativity in general or the way they see the world. My husband has been able to kind of pull now from our collective experience and breathe life into these players. And that's when he comes home and tells me about something sweet he did or, you know, just a little random act of kindness he did for somebody else.

It just blesses my soul. I got to ask you about this part of your relationship because his rum and Coke wife was now talking about prayer and about Bible study. And this is not what he'd signed up for when he married you. Was that a problem in your marriage? It was a little bit of a problem, not because of him, but because I didn't know where he stood.

We had never talked before about God or where he stood. We both grew up. I grew up Catholic.

He grew up Lutheran. So one day I had to ask him because I started to believe that everything in life was a miracle. If I forgot the garbage to take the garbage out on a Wednesday, I would be like, oh, man, that's terrible. Now we have to let it sit there for a whole nother week. And then I would find out that the, you know, it was Memorial Day on Monday. So all the garbage collection has been backed up a day.

So now my garbage is going to be collected on Thursday. I would be like, thank you, Jesus. You know, like everything's a miracle.

Yes. And my husband would say to me, Nick, not everything is a miracle. And I'd look at him and say, oh, yes, it is like all good gifts come from God, you know? And he's just looking at me.

He's rolling his eyes, like kind of laughing. So I finally had to ask him, what do you believe? And I know what I believe.

And I know that I've kind of shoved this down your throat a little bit. I'm not asking you to believe what I believe. I'm just wondering what it is that you do believe. Do you ever pray? So I asked him, do you ever pray? And he said, yeah, I pray every night.

I said, you do? What do you pray for? And he said, oh, honestly, he goes, I don't ever pray for anything.

I said, what do you mean? And he goes, I just tell God how grateful I am for everything he's given me. And in that conversation, I knew like, we're okay.

We're going to be okay. So he did not pull back from your new religious impulse. As you were talking about Bible studies or Jesus or wanting to go to church, he was not put off by that.

He may have been a little put off by it because I was so vocal. Right. Even to strangers, you know, and whatever. Like I'm absolutely like, let's go up and tell somebody like, I love your smile. Like, oh, you just light up the world with that smile. And so he did have to deal with that sort of thing. Right.

But I think that he did grow quickly along with me. That's great. Well, it's interesting when you think about when you were drinking before, put you in an altered state, and then you put in your book, the things that happen with kindness that create a high. Talk about that a little bit.

That's almost scientific, but physically what happens to the body, the endorphins and the kind of things that happen that are a replacement. It's like you found a different drug, a very sober great drug that obviously helped you and helped your family. Talk about that. I get so excited when God's word and science line up, when they become like intertwined, that just gets me so excited. So I knew what I felt with all of these things. I knew that, you know, God says like, it's more blessed to give than to receive and all of these great things that happened to us. Even like, okay, so I love this one. Like feed the hungry, help those in trouble, and your light will shine from the darkness and the darkness will be as bright as noon.

Right. So like your world is going to light up if you focus on kindness. And I loved that. But when I started really researching kindness, I wanted to know how to speak to people who didn't know God and hadn't read the word, because I really felt like it wasn't just for those who follow Jesus.

It was for everyone. And what I found out was that science backs up what Jesus says. So there are four feel-good chemicals that are released into our bodies when we are involved in kindness. So endorphins and serotonin and dopamine and oxytocin. And so that means like it's a pain relief.

It's an antidepressant and anti-anxiety. It's the feeling of being rewarded. And it's like the feeling of a warm hug. That's what all of those hormones do. And they're not just released in the body of the giver.

They are released in the body of anyone giving, receiving, or witnessing an act of kindness. Like God knew there was this secret pathway that we could go down called kindness. And we didn't know what was going to happen when we got there. And maybe sometimes we're rejected and sometimes we're not.

But he said, just walk down the secret pathway and I'm going to meet you there. Which explains your tingling sensation when you walked out of dino land. Yes. Yes. And it's a physiological reason why. Right.

And because it is a drug. It is. And it's also the Holy Spirit kind of confirming and speaking to you like this was something special. But here's my question. What happens when you are proactively being kind to somebody and the recipient does not receive your kindness? You go up and want to do something special. I mean, you came in here today as we're getting ready to talk. She brought all of us presents. You manifested kindness at the get go.

What if I'd gotten my gift from you and gone, thanks. This is dumb. Yeah. Doesn't that short circuit those endorphins you're getting? Well, I think I might have a little bit of a competitive spirit because for me, that just means game on. Like if I walk in and Bob says, like grunts at me, then I'm going to be like, Bob, did you get to eat breakfast today? You know, how was last night?

Did you get a good night's sleep? And, you know, I would just go at you again and again and again, killing with kindness, right? Full court press on the kindness.

Full court press on the kindness. Yeah. I'm also thinking, oh, that person's wounded. Something has happened that's created a scar.

And then I have that same inkling. I want to get at that scar. I want to help. I want to help heal that scar. I even think maybe it's just me, even if they don't respond to it, they will later.

Yes. Like later when I walk away, you cannot like kindness when it's done to you. But here's the reason I'm asking, because there are some spouses who are listening who are going, I have tried to pour kindness all over our marriage. And my wife or my husband is just a stone, nonresponsive.

And so I give up. I try kindness and it has not worked in our marriage. And then the question is, so you're saying just amp it up and that's supposed to be the breakthrough in my marriage?

Is that what you think? Well, I think it goes back to the hurt people, hurt people. And so we need to look at that and we need to understand that sometimes that spouse might need something we can't give them. They might need some therapy. They might need something that is beyond what we can give them. The woundedness that you're talking about.

What's the wound there? Right. And then if you are with a spouse who says, that's not my jam. I'm not getting therapy, figure it out. I think that if there are children involved in that, they are going to see and they are going to pull from your goodness. And so we can't change people.

Absolutely. I can't change anyone. And I don't pray for someone's heart to be changed.

I pray for that my heart would be changed toward that person. And I think that our kids will notice that and simple things like I'll say to my kids when I hear them picking on each other, they giggle now because it's been years that we've been doing this, but I'll say, what does the world do to you? And then, you know, one of them will say, oh, the world brings you down. I said, that's right. So what do we do for each other in this house? And they'll say, we bring each other up. And I said, that's right. Yeah, we lift each other up. So even conversations like that, I think the coldest heart can respond to that. Here's the biblical principle at work.

And we've talked about this for years at the Weekend to Remember Marriage getaway. 1 Peter 3 says, we are not to return evil for evil, but instead give a blessing. Instead. In fact, the passage says, if you want a long life and good days, you will give a blessing to others. You will make that your intentionality. And giving the blessing is not contingent on how somebody responds in receiving it. Your job is to keep giving the blessing and see how the power of that blessing over time begins to heal some of the woundedness in that other person. And here's one of the amazing things I found in your book, which I've seen in my own life, is that when you give a blessing or you're kind to someone, whether they deserve it or not, guess who gets the blessing? And it's in the passage as well.

1 Peter 3, it says, we receive a blessing. Yes. You know, and you even say in the book, it's like you want to grow spiritually. Be kind. It's like, what? I'm looking over at Bob as he's saying this. He's got the little kindness sticker on his shirt. I'm just laughing.

Kindness is contagious. I gave everybody little stickers and Bob took it off and put it on his shirt like that. I like it. I voted or something. Yeah, right.

But that is the thing. You think, okay, I'm not happy. I'm struggling.

I'm stuck. Maybe spiritually, maybe in my marriage. What I need is somebody to be kind to me. Somebody needs to see where I am and help me and reach out to me. And that could be true. But the truth is, and this is just the, it's almost like when Jesus says, if you want to find your life, lose it.

It's almost like, what? How do I find my life in giving it away? How do I find life and being kind to somebody, maybe even my spouse that doesn't deserve it? Try it.

Just try it. You're going to find Jesus' words are true. You're going to find life in giving yours away.

You're going to find kindness when you are kind. And the first time it happens and the person is grumpy back at you, do what Nicole does and double down and say, okay, I'm coming at it bigger next time and we'll see what happens here. But here's the thing, really important not to talk badly about that person, even if you think it, because what you focus on is what you will notice. That will become bigger in your life. So when a friend will tell me, oh, I was at this restaurant and this waiter did this, or they'll say to me, oh, my husband, he was supposed to do this and he didn't do this. I'll say to them, okay, now you've told me, now you've gotten it out. Do not repeat that again.

Because it creates a neuro pathway in your brain that you walk down every day. Yes. And so we have to create this new pathway because, man, I walked that old pathway a long time and that path was really wide because every day I'd go into the negative.

Yes. And I think that's easy, especially for young moms who are trying to figure it out. And you're like, my husband's doing nothing and I'm doing everything. And Bob, you've heard me say, think about this, when we're talking about the old and and the new and the before kindness and and the after kindness, and this has been decades now, but when she started being kind, her thought process was she used to only see the negative and I had a ton of negative. And it was justified when she called it out. She started to see the positive.

And when she started speaking that, I've said this a thousand times all over the country, when she started speaking kindness to me, you're a good man, you're a good husband, you're you're a phenomenal dad. I literally went, no, I'm not. I was like what Bob was saying. I was like, no, I'm not. You can try and say I am. I know you don't believe that. You've never said this before.

So what are you doing? You read a book and you're going to try that out on me. But all I know is over time when she started to say that, I started to think she I think she thinks that. She really thinks I'm a good man.

I'm not a good man, but I want to be a good man. So it was like she was saying I was something I wasn't yet, but I wanted to become what she was saying. I was and I think I started to be transformed by her words because she actually chose not to see the negative. And that wasn't my motivation.

I'm going to change him with my words. No, but it worked that way. And I'm not saying it works that way with everybody, but I do think it sort of works that way.

It does. You don't have to respond to kindness if you just wear them down with it enough. Or you respond to the way you look at them. I think there have got to be listeners who are thinking, OK, I'm busted because I am default negative.

They would acknowledge that when they see something happening, their first thought is not positive. It's eh, eh. Right. Yeah. Debbie Downer.

Right. And you wrote the negativity remedy with that person in mind to say there's a way out of your persistent, stubborn negativity because you were there. That was you a decade ago, right? That was me a decade ago. I was an alcoholic, a drinker, smoker, overeater, angry at my husband.

And when I got my eyes off of myself and put them on to the needs of others or just kindness in general and noticing when people were being kind to me or when I had the opportunity to be kind to someone else, it changed. There was a college professor who had a piece of paper and it was white and in the middle was this black circle filled in. And so he had all of his assembly hall full of students look at this picture and write down what they saw. And every single person wrote down something about that black dot.

Hold and do another universe or whatever it was, however creative you wanted to be. The fact of the matter was you look at the black dot and the professor said, what else is on the page? Uh, the white space. Yeah. And so when you're looking at your husband and you are seeing his flaws, well guess what? Like all of those flaws are in me. I know they are. And I'm grateful that my husband sees the white space. Yeah.

Around me. The book is called The Negativity Remedy and in it you're going to read about taking every thought captive and about renewing your mind, all of these biblical ideas. And yet this is a book you can easily give to somebody who doesn't go to church often. In fact, we're making this book available this week to Family Life Today listeners. Those of you who can support the Ministry of Family Life with a donation, the book is our way of saying thank you for your partnership with us in this ministry.

Every day, Family Life Today is connecting with hundreds of thousands of people around the world via radio, via our podcast, on our mobile app, our website, all of the different channels through which Family Life Today is available. You're helping us effectively develop godly marriages and families when you support this ministry. In fact, that's what your donation is actually going to. It's going to strengthen the marriages and families of people in your community and people throughout the world. So thanks in advance for your financial support of this ministry. We'd love to send you a copy of Nicole Phillips' book, The Negativity Remedy, unlocking more joy, less stress, and better relationships through kindness. The book is our thank you gift to you when you donate to Family Life Today online at or when you call to donate at 1-800-358-6329.

That's 1-800-F as in Family, L as in Life, and then the word Today. By the way, this weekend we have our very first Weekend to Remember Getaway in more than a year. I mean, this is crazy, but it was a year ago that we had to cancel Weekends to Remember for the rest of the spring and then throughout the fall because of COVID, and this weekend in Branson, Missouri, we have a socially distanced, sold-out Weekend to Remember event happening, and we're excited to have these events starting to open back up. We have a few more events scheduled throughout the spring. You can go to our website,, for more information about where these events are being held and about the precautions we are still taking in light of the pandemic, but we're excited to have Weekends to Remember beginning to happen again. Pray for the couples who will be at the Weekend to Remember this weekend, and if you need more information about where you could attend one of the upcoming Weekend to Remember events, go to for more information. And we hope you can join us again tomorrow when we're going to continue talking about kindness. Nicole Phillips will be back with us, and we'll talk about just how transformative a commitment to kindness can be for a marriage and a family, and honestly, how transformative it could be for our whole culture.

I mean, think about that. Hope you can join us again tomorrow. I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch. We got some help from our friend Bruce Gough and our entire broadcast production team. On behalf of our hosts, Dave and Ann Wilson, I'm Bob Lapine. We will see you back next time for another edition of Family Life Today. Family Life Today is a production of Family Life of Little Rock, Arkansas, a crew ministry. Help for today. Hope for tomorrow.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-12 11:15:29 / 2023-12-12 11:27:36 / 12

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