We learned a lot in kindergarten. There’s even a book about it! Our teachers showed us how to share, how to appreciate snack time, and how to read. All of those are key to day to day life (especially that snack time thing). But the most important lessons our kindergarten teachers, and hopefully our parents, taught us was The Golden Rule.
In case you’ve never heard of this before, The Golden Rule is simple.
Treat others the way you’d want to be treated.
Who could argue against that? If you wouldn’t want something done to you, don’t do it to someone else. It sounds reasonable enough.
And yet, it seems like we’ve abandoned that idea.
It’s no secret that we haven’t lived in “precedented” times for a while. There’s a lot of stress floating around and so much of it comes from what we keep doing to each other. We’re shaming people for who they are. Punishing them for coming from a certain background. We’re taking away rights and making it harder for people to live their lives.
I’ve frequently wondered when people started losing their empathy and compassion. How do you look at the suffering of another human being and want to contribute to that pain? How do you not see the similarities between you and them?
I will always be completely blown away as to how someone makes decisions that knowingly causes another person pain and then sleeps peacefully at night. I can’t change what goes on in the rest of the world, but I can change my immediate environment, and encourage you to do the same.
Remember The Golden Rule.
It’s a simple mindset we can all benefit from.
When you cut someone off in traffic or on the sidewalk, think to yourself, “Would I like it if someone did that to me?”. What about when you’re speaking loudly on your cell phone in a restaurant? Would you like it if the situation was reversed? When you think about whether or not a trauma survivor should be believed, ask yourself – “Would I want someone to believe me if I were in their shoes?”.
At the very least, we can practice basic empathy in our day to day lives. If you want courtesy and respect, offer it to others. If you’d like your person and your space to be respected, respect that in other people. You learned it in kindergarten, and it’s even more important as an adult.