The Golden Rule
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
This blog has nothing to do with weight loss or exercise. It does, however, deal with healthy living of the spiritual (not necessarily religious) kind. And I believe that being healthy spiritually is an important cog in the wheel of a healthy lifestyle.
I've been thinking a lot lately about the golden rule, you know, "do unto others as you would like them to do unto you."
My 7 year old son and I talk about the golden rule a lot, and we've added a couple of rules of our own for him (and me!) to remember. One of "our" rules, we call the "silver rule": "If you don't see it with your own eyes, or hear it with your own ears, then don't repeat it." The silver rule is about not gossiping, or being unkind to others by repeating things you don't even know are true about people, something that can really hurt innocent people.
Anyway, certain events have transpired that have made me think about how self-centered so many people in our world have become, and how common courtesy seems to have taken a total back seat to people getting, or taking, what they want when they want. Whether it's standing with that carton of milk that I need after work in the "12 Item Limit" grocery store line behind someone with a cartful of groceries; or watching people at the gym dripping wet and putting their sweaty hands all over the handles of the elliptical and then just getting off and not bothering to wipe it down; or seeing someone's child in a store knocking items off the shelves, and the parent not forcing the child to pick them up; or someone who cannot graciously accept an apology rendered from the heart; or watching cars try to "cut through" a line of cars in a funeral, I must say, it could be easy to be disappointed in the world we live in.
Sometimes I wonder if anyone else notices this type of thing. It would be easy to think they do not, but then I remember that most of the time, I am an observer of these types of things and I do not say or do anything about them, either. That is borne of several factors, I believe: 1) avoiding unnecessary confrontation, which in my mind is really about personal safety; 2) minding my own business; 3) not being in a position to do or say anything; 4) not knowing where to start to make a difference.. So, I guess what I'm saying is that of course others notice these things, but for reasons similar to my own, they observe, and no doubt feel the same feelings of outrage and helplessness to fix this descent into rude, selfish, anti-social behavior that seems to surround us. But I believe that our failure to act helps to fuel the disintegration of the fabric of acceptable behavior.
Well, I think the time has come to take the world back from the edge of this precipice. I'm not talking about taking any extreme, potentially dangerous action in the face of this kind of behavior. I'm talking about starting with my own little corner of the world. Remembering that that little old lady standing in the grocery store staring at products high up on the shelf might need some help reaching something, and offering to help; encouraging my son to look for opportunities to help others and to do it; taking a couple of hours every month and volunteering my time to some worthy cause; donating gently used items to local agencies that will get them into the right, needy hands.. The list of what we can do to make our world a kinder, gentler, place is endless. And I pledge, right now, to do more.