The Golden Rule
The Golden Rule or law of reciprocity is the principle of treating others as one would wish to be treated oneself. It is a maxim of altruism seen in many human religions and human cultures.
When I was growing up there was a framed print by Norman Rockwell in my house that always caught my eye. I never could explain why the print caught my eye, it just did. So many people, from so many walks of life all came together for one "Photo" if it can be called that. Unity, understanding, and just genuine care for one another. This picture embodied my outlook on the world.
Sadly, being pushed out into the world my experiences taught me otherwise. Public school definitely forgot to mention the importance of understanding and consideration to all its attendees. The state of public schools in Miami-Dade County taught me all I needed to know about the world around me. The right amount of drugs/alcohol, your fair share of violence, a nice dose of racism, some bullying, and self-segregation (even though integration was supposed to be way passed its final stages by this time.) The drugs and alcohol are fairly easy to get over, just exercise control and stay above the influence. In the event someone isn't taking no for an answer find a way to create the illusion that your partaking or partake and take the chance that your weak enough to form an addiction. You could always assess the value of the person offering you narcotics and if you deem them not worthy of your friendship, then simply leave it at "no" and continue on your way.
Violence is a tricky one, it doesn't always have a direct cause and effect diagram. Sometimes it works like one of those wheels you spin at the carnival, where you have no idea what you will win and for some reason there is this drastic damping in speed as you step away from the wheel like someone pressed a weird and uneven braking system. "Oh its about to land on peaceful resolution and some one accidentally bumps it another notch and oh boy, looks like a free Molly-whopping coming your way." Violence nowadays seems to show no correlation when graphed against the preceding actions of both parties. Its a 50/50 chance we take every time we step out the door.
Bullying must be mentioned along with violence due to the simple fact they overlap. People bullied as kids usually get bullied as adults. Bullying isn't just a thing its a lifestyle. Sadly its everywhere. People can be bullies, corporations can be bullies, even countries can be bullies. Bullying is a result of assumed weakness or flaw. Its a form of mental and physical oppression. Signs of weakness, differences from the norm, envy, or even just misunderstanding are the opportunities that bullies look for. Sometimes your boss can even be a bully and not fully realize it. In corporate america bullying is masked by title and power but that's a topic for another day.
Racism and self segregation go hand in hand. We integrated schools so children of different races could attend the same schools and receive the same opportunities. As usual, things did not go as planned. Integration only shrunk the size of the environment so in this smaller multi-racial pot the ingredients divided along cultural lines. There are the chosen few kids who decide to mingle outside their racial and cultural boundaries. These kids are targets for bullying and racial issues due to them not embracing their own kind accordingly. The fact that they have this positive form of color blindness makes them targets in their own color circle. So by default cultural ties are the common ground which can most easily be used to make friends. The kids who go through the difficulty of making friends through genuine human interests and interaction only face more difficulty from other cultural groups along with their own. The racism is a two way street. The racial divide is not always necessarily with another group sometimes your own group can outcast you.
Looking at all these issues, we see that kids go through the same things as adults. Or is it that adults never took time to fix the issues in their generation so the cycle started over again. Or are adults actively teaching these concepts either through actual verbal instruction or simply by example. No matter what the case, its sad that we all have come across this golden rule I discussed earlier yet the majority of people fail to apply it. Those that say they are strict in their religious practices conveniently don't practice this rule. Let's take a moment to read a quick reference in different religions.
So we claim to be devout yet we do not apply such an amazing rule that could potentially fix many of the major issues that follow us from grade school far into our adult lives. Convenience and fear of the unknown cause us to trust in the ignorance of yesteryear. Times of prejudice went on so long that we have a hard time breaking the patterns, oppressed and oppressors alike. Patterns of fear, hate, and ignorance continue to show generation after generation.
So as the rule says we should treat others as we would want to be treated. We should want the best for our brothers just as any man normally wants for himself. The problem is when human nature takes over we think less about our fellow man and more about ourselves. The fellow man gets placed on the back burner and eventually becomes non existent in our daily considerations. If we treated others as we want to be treated it may not necessarily fix the drug and alcohol issue (because in that case the person offering you drugs would probably just want you to feel the numbing or euphoric effect of whatever their on) but, as for the other issues it would put a serious dent in their armor. Violence is something I'm pretty sure would cease to exist. If we cared about the well being of our fellow man we would be more likely to find peaceful compromises before responding out of of anger. If we cared about our fellow man we would show him love and respect in hopes he had the same feelings toward us. If we cared for our fellow man we would want to learn about his culture and share our own with him. If you want someone to hear what you have to say make sure you take the time out to hear what they have to say. If you want to receive a smile send one out and watch it come back like a boomerang. If schools emphasized this rule as a top priority I feel teachers would be more effective and students would be more attentive in class. I'm pretty sure bullies wouldn't bully as much if they knew what it was like to be bullied. I'm not asking you to hold hands and sing kumbaya in a camp circle, I'm just asking that moving forward please reincorporate this Golden Rule into your daily ritual. Practice it, perform it, and make sure to spread the word of its return to rotation. If we all just make a decent effort misunderstanding would be a thing of the past, clearing up a lot of the issues mentioned earlier. People are so caught up with their preformed opinion of others that they don't take the time out to see the individual. We love to generalize things for example; a guy you thought would grow to be your world leaves you, all of a sudden "Guys aren't shit". Is that applying the golden rule? Absolutely not you just made the playing field exponentially more difficult. The next man ends up paying for the mistakes of the ex man. We must clear the slate and try to move forward. We must not get caught up in the stereotyping and generalizing. Every person is different so act like you know. Take the time to understand your fellow human in hopes that they will not mistake your kindness for weakness. In the event they do swiftly let them know you are not above putting someone in their place. Assume positive intent till your given reason to believe otherwise. Don't be abused just make a little more effort the future depends on it. Until next time keep it LYM.