Showing posts with label Golden Rule. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Golden Rule. Show all posts

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A moral code to live by: the Golden Rule

Unfortunatley, I am not allowed to be with you each day, Kieran, so I am unable to lisen to and talk with you about your concerns and problems. Because of that, I will on occasion offer advice about moral codes to live by. 

Perhaps the most important rule you can follow when interacting with others is the Golden Rule – “Do unto to others as you would have them do unto you.” Virtually every culture has some version of the Golden Rule in its moral code: “Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself” (Chinese); “Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others” (Greeks); “Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful” (India). Along with “Don’t commit murder,” the Golden Rule perhaps is the most universal of humanity’s moral axioms.

The Golden Rule is more than a “Be nice to others” stricture, though. Underlying it are the basic beliefs that every human being is of value and therefore deserves to be treated fairly. These are the foundations for human rights and justice. For example, if you believe that others shouldn’t limit your ability to speak or vote, then you cannot limit their ability to do the same. If you do limit their ability, then you must believe yourself superior to them. You then should expect that holding yourself above others will result in their resentment of you. Given this, the Golden Rule also is about reducing violence.

So before doing something that effects another, ask yourself “Would I want someone to do that to me?” If you wouldn’t like someone cutting in line in front of you, getting a better test score because they cheated, or flipping you off, then don’t do it either!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Always tell the truth, no matter what

I'm very proud of you, Kieran, because during the past year you told the truth, a very important principle that I'd always tried to instill in you before others decided to cruelly keep us apart. Thanks to you being honest, we likely will be able to again be with one another.

Unfortunately, you will find yourself surrounded by people who believe telling the truth is only important if it serves their selfish purposes. While lying may benefit them in the short term, over the long haul one's lies have a way of catching up with you. The result is that more harm comes to them because on balance more people than not believe in telling the truth.

Why is telling the truth so important? Because our reputation is our worth in society. Once we lie, our reputation suffers, sometimes to the point where we lose things important to us. The heartache of losing what we value always is worse than the trouble we might get into if we are truthful.

Being honest is important because lying is unfair to others. People make decisions based on the assumption that what we've told them is the truth. We should not be unfair to others because it violates the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as they would do unto you." We would not want others to be unfair to us, so we should not be unfair to them.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

So you want to know what you should do

One of my regrets in being kept apart from you, my son, is that I'm not there to listen to you when problems arise. You're rapidly approaching that age when other people's seemingly inexplicable behavior leads you to wonder what to do and why they behave that way, when the black and white ethics of childhood that says what one's parents dictate as right all so often proves inadequate. I myself am facing that difficult choice today about someone I deeply love and care about.

You'll notice that I didn't say "answer your questions" when you face such problems, because often after explaining them to someone you love and trust, you'll ask, "What should I do, Dad?" or "What should I do, Grandma?" If dad and grandma are wise, they won't give you a lecture about what to do but instead will ask you a series of questions to help you wrap your head around the problem. You're a good, intelligent kid, and you probably have the answer inside you; you just needed someone to help you think through it and listen to you, just to show that someone cared. That's what you really wanted - and needed - after all.

I wish I could be there to listen to and help you think through the problem. In my absence, let me simply ask you, "What would you want someone to do to or for you if you were in that situation?" The answer probably is what you should do for that person. It's basically the Golden Rule: Do unto others as they would do unto you. Treat others as you expect to treat them. To wit, if your friend is getting robbed of his lunch money by the school bully, and you're wondering what to do, ask yourself what you want a friend to do if you were the kid getting robbed of his lunch money.

I don't know if that really helps. A problem almost always is more complicated to resolve than what I've described. But it's a good question to ask. Just look at a picture of me, tell me what's on your mind knowing that if I really were physically there I'd listen with as much attentiveness, and know the first question I'd ask is "What would you want someone to do to or for you if you were in that situation?" I'm betting that you probably know what is the right thing to do.