This I believe
Do unto others as you would have those do unto you. Those words have been read, heard, recited all across America. The simple phrase taught in elementary school is a lesson that I won’t forget. I live my life by the golden rule; so this I believe.
I can remember elementary school as if it were yesterday. Kids being mean to each other for no particular reason other than Suzy stealing Amy’s cupcake, or John taking Alex’s crayon during coloring time. Life was simple and carefree. It was here that I learned the most valuable lesson of my life. I was always picked on when I was younger; I can’t being to tell you the nicknames I’ve been called, and I didn’t think I deserved any of them, but I never retaliated, I never teased back. One day, when it was too much I turned to kid teasing me and I stood up to him. “Stop it!” I shouted. “It’s not nice, you’re hurting my feelings. How would you like it if I teased you?” He stopped teasing me from that day forward. I knew what it was like to be teased, and I never wished that on anyone, not even my greatest enemy. Physical pain only lasts so long, but emotional scars from really mean children can last forever; and no matter how mad I got at someone, the most I wanted to happen to them was a good swift kick in the knee; not that I ever got the chance.
The golden rule is an amazing sentence. It has so much meaning and power behind it. If you aren’t going to respect someone, what reason do you give for him or her to respect you? I do my best to live by the golden rule. I do slip up occasionally. My most recent slip-up involved me angrily throwing food at an employee who was being extremely rude to everyone. I had gotten an hour of sleep the night before because of work and I wasn’t going to stand for her being rude like that. Later I just felt awful. Maybe she was having an off day. I didn’t have a good reason to go throwing things at her. Everyone has off days. When I do slip up I do my best to rectify the situation. I’d rather give someone the respect I would like them to show me than have to worry about running into them and causing an altercation.
Life is more than money and success. I believe life is about respect and dignity. People take notice when you’re kind to everyone. If I can make the world even just a little bit better by being respectful and courteous to everyone, then I feel I’ve made a significant impact on the world. Sometimes being nice is all it takes for someone to take notice and remember and pass it on.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.