Lately I’ve been reminiscing on the things we tell our kids – or I guess more specifically the things I tell my children. We attempt to impart wisdom, humor and grace into their lives and hope and pray that they will hold onto that; that someday when they are out making all of their own decisions that little kernels of parent-isms will creep back into their brains to help them. We hope that eventually it will make sense and they will see that we weren’t so stupid after all.
Today – and if I’m honest for quite some time now – this rule….this Golden one…is one I think that people in general throw out in conversation or when things are tough but don’t really think about. Treat others as you want to be treated. Seems simple enough. I’ve heard this as long as I can remember and I oftentimes use it in conversations with my kids about other children at their schools.
But here’s the thing…..
I believe we (humans in general) tend to mash up the Golden Rule with the eye for an eye thing. We tend to say things like, “well, he cut me off in traffic. I’m gonna speed up and block him in. We’ll see how fast he moves then”. Or, “she called me a _____ (insert jab of choice). But that’s fine because I told my friends just what a real ______ (again insert your choice) she is”. He took my ball so I’ll break his bat. She hurt my feelings so I’ll embarrass her in front of my friends. See how this works?
We seem to be a society of retribution. This is not what the Golden Rule says. It very clearly states “treat others as you want to be treated”. There is no caveat that says treat them the way they treat you. This isn’t about what they’ve done or not done to or for you. This is about what, in a perfect world, you would prefer them do. If you wouldn’t like it if someone started a rumor about you, then don’t start rumors about anyone else. If it would upset you if someone cut you off in traffic then don’t cut anyone else off. I know this is easier said than done, but think about it. Think of all the ills in the world that would be solved if we did this. No more inequality, no more injustices…..
I know I’m a dreamer – but I’m giving it my best effort to employ this metallic rule every single day. It’s not easy and there are certainly times that I fail, but I’m not giving up. I guess my hope is that my kids will see me trying and will listen to me repeating it and that eventually, someday they will really get it and begin to live it.It will be their world in which to make a difference. It would be really great if the difference started now.
I hope you get it too.