This I Believe

Josefina - Winchester, Virginia
Entered on October 21, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: golden rule

When I was a young child, I was taught the golden rule, ‘treat others as you would like to be treated’. With the innocence of a child and the blind faith I had at that age, this rule was absolute. Anytime I got into trouble, my parents would ask me “What if someone did what you did to you, would you like that?” Of course, when your actions are explained in this way, it is easy to see and understand the errors of your ways. Naturally, growing up, I took this moral teaching to heart. With the knowledge of a 25 old, I have learned this simple teaching finds its origin in almost all cultural and religious dogmas. It is a basic moral principle. You can find a variation of this theme in teachings of Christianity, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Muhammad to name a few. Although stated in many ways, the meaning is the same. “Treat others the way you would like to be treated”. Think about it. It is simple, concise and strait to the point. No large words to confuse or draw alternate meaning from. A simple statement that has the ability to transcend all time, place and people. Just as it was taught thousands of years ago, it can apply to all persons living in this day and age. How easily it can be picked out of memory to use as a tool when confronted with a moral dilemma. Ask yourself quickly, is this what I would like done to me? If the answer is no, then the action should not be undertaken. Although I cannot say I have used this in every decision I have ever made, I do believe that it is one of my basic moral beliefs. It is also how I feel guilt for actions I have done to others. I actually feel the pain the person must have felt when imagine myself in their shoes. Although simple to me I fear, this principle has been forgotten or ignored in modern day society.

I believe this rule needs a revival in the human population. Parents should teach their children, teachers teach their students, students tell their friends. If confronted with a hard decision, or when a friend asks advice, I recite this simple statement, “Treat others as you would like to be treated”. It is not pushing a resolution or belief onto another but allowing that person to view possible outcomes of their choice in a different perspective. It allows an individual to think how their actions would affect a person by simply putting themselves in another’s shoes. It is not burdensome, but enlightening. Nor is it racist, sexist, prejudice or judgmental. It is a statement that offers a different viewpoint; nothing more, nothing less. In a world full of crimes due to hate, cruelty and insensitivity the golden rule offers a person the unique perspective of another; in order to think of their feelings, before one’s own.