The Golden Rule

Socially speaking, our lives erupted from the moment we were born. We honed our motor skills as children and learned how to act in social situations. In preschool, we learned how to cooperate with others. As life progressed, we interacted with our peers in various settings. But some children simply could not play well with others.

I remember sitting on the floor in my kindergarten class, pencil in hand, trying to write my name properly. Or, as decently as I possibly could at the age of four.

While I concentrated, I recall watching my peers get into trouble. My teacher, slightly aggravated, decreed that we follow the ‘Golden Rule’ when interacting with others. As a 20 something, the title of this ‘Rule’ sounds slightly ridiculous. Nevertheless, the principle is still relevant. We were told that to follow this ‘Rule’ we must treat others the way we would like to be treated. Understandably, not every child followed this mantra. As kindergartners, how could we be expected to fully understand the principle behind the ‘Golden Rule?’

Once I reached junior high I realized that the ‘way’ to be social had changed. My peers began to disregard the mantra we learned at such a young age. They also developed intolerant, judgmental mindsets.

If our parents decree that an individual is strange we listen and maintain the same idea. When I entered high school, my sense of that ‘Golden Rule’ I was taught in my younger years began to buckle. How had my peers, children I had learned and laughed with, changed so drastically?

I get it now.

As society progressed and changed, our parents, mentors, and teachers adapted. We, as children, were forced to do the same. While I am completely okay with change, I can’t help but worry. The way in which we flex alongside those growing changes concerns me. In kindergarten I was an open-minded and inquisitive child, quite free from judgmental peers.

Now I stand with a high school diploma in one hand and a Bachelor’s degree in the other, wondering what went wrong. I am still open-minded and inquisitive of the world around me. Yet I am not free from judgment. Nor are you. Unwarranted judgment is a pressing issue in society. Personally, I am open and respectful towards others. My loving parents raised me to be accepting and courteous.

But the way I face social situations is also a personal choice. When faced with difficult situations I think to myself, “How would I prefer to be treated if I were in my peer’s shoes?”

Society has moved from the ‘Golden Rule’ era and has turned far too judgmental. On the one hand, change is being embraced in certain parts of the world. Unfortunately, perplexing segregation makes up the other flip of the coin. As a people we are still battling internal issues with race, color, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and gender. While some groups may have moved forward out of the dark ages and into the light, the majority of the world’s populace has not.

A variety of factors keep us from completely advancing, such as religious belief systems and standard tradition. The manner we were all raised influences us greatly. And all of that is certainly okay. Hold on to your beliefs and traditional mantras. But think about the woman in line next to you at the coffee shop. You were about to judge her based on appearance alone, weren’t you? Put yourself in her shoes and think about your own feelings. Instead of judging your peer, think about whether you want a dark or medium roast coffee to start your day.

There is far too much hate in the world, and it saddens me to the core.

No, you don’t need to agree with everyone. But you should, at the very least, be considerate and tolerant of the different views and opinions you may encounter.

Life continuously throws harsh situations at society. Weather changes drastically and traffic accidents occur daily. Why must we create turmoil amongst ourselves?

Can’t seem to agree with the person sitting next to you in class? Don’t fight back aggressively. Hear your peer out if the situation permits it, but don’t stay in their presence merely to argue. Politely disagree, and if the issue persists, respectfully walk away.

Golden Rule - Respect It!

Be the bigger person in difficult situations.

Why bother yourself with unnecessary complications within your family, friends, or even with a stranger? Rid yourself of negative vibes by taking a lengthy walk. Write a poem, if you must. Take a nap.

Just don’t let it get to you.

If we all took a step back, looked at difficult situations with a clear eye, and treated people with respect, life would be a whole lot better. We may not be in kindergarten anymore, but in social mannerisms we may be worse off. Take the ‘Golden Rule’ you were taught as a child and mold it. Fit it to current societal standards. Treat your clients, managers, significant others, and loved ones with respect.

In turn, life will be less chaotic.

We may have skirted away from the age old mantra as a society, but maybe one day we will reach that point again. It takes one person to make a statement, sure. But the majority needs to accept and adapt to truly create a change in society.