The Golden RulePosted: April 6, 2011
Good morning, friends! I have something to get off my chest. I hope you don’t mind.
We all know the The Golden Rule: Treat others the way you’d want to be treated. It is so simple, yet I find so many people (oftentimes myself included) have such trouble following it.
Let me tell you a (wordy) story. I hope you read along.
It was homecoming of my Senior year in high school. I was dressed up and having a fabulous time with my boyfriend and friends. I felt on top of the world.
Towards the end of the night, my girlfriends and I noticed a boy standing alone. He was dressed in a suit and bopping along to the music, but he looked like he felt out of place. He also happened to have Down Syndrome.
My heart melted when I saw him and I immediately said to my friends, “Let’s ask him to dance!” I was shocked when all of my friends laughed and breathed a collective “No way”
I remember being in that moment and knowing I had a decision to make. I could either take the comfortable route and go along with my friends, or step outside the group in order to make someone else feel good. My friends whispered as I made my way over to the boy, introduced myself and asked him to dance. I cannot explain the wonderful smile on his face or how happy I felt dancing with him.
That boy’s name was JD and he became my friend. He visited my locker every morning for the rest of the school year and we talked on the phone when I was home on breaks from college. He helped introduce me to the Special Olympics, and I even coached his basketball team. He was great.
If I had let other people’s opinions control my own, I probably would have passed JD by without a second thought that night. But sometimes, it benefits us to think about how others might feel. Maybe someone isn’t part of the “in” group and you are. Would it kill you to make him or her feel included? Probably not. You might even gain something out of it.
Please don’t get me wrong. I am not a saint. Quite far from it. I am privy to passing judgement and gossiping – both of which are terrible habits that I try to avoid at all costs. They make me feel ugly because well, they are ugly.
I’m writing this post because at some point everyone, no matter her age, appearance or ability, will feel left out. I’ve been on both sides, and I know that being on the outside hurts. But I can’t decide if it sucks more to be the part of the “in” group because of how ugly it feels (and looks) to consciously make some else feel not included.
So really – just treat others the way you want to be treated. It’s much easier than being rude, mean and ugly.