It was the day when three tradesmen were working in my house. We were all really busy. The front doorbell rang. When I answered it, a young man stood there. He told me that the government had employed him to go door-to-door in my area to offer householders like me two free power-saving devices. He seemed like a sincere guy who was just trying to make a living, so I took up his offer and invited him in to install them.
While he was unpacking the products, I noticed he was sniffing quite a lot. Without thinking much about it, I offered him a tissue to blow his nose. He was most grateful. Then he said that the sniffing was probably because he was hot from pushing his little product cart around the streets in the heat. So I poured him a glass of ice-cold water from the refrigerator and gave it to him. He thanked me and said that I had been very nice to him.
He and I completed the necessary paperwork, I signed his iPad, he collected his bits and pieces and departed. A few minutes later there was another knock on the door. When I opened it, there was the young man again. He asked if he could use the toilet. I showed him the way and left him to it. When he re-joined me in the lounge, he apologized for returning, but said he was most grateful for my kindness. I replied that it was my pleasure to assist him.
In my life I’ve been grateful many times for the kindness of others. Difficult circumstances have been eased by someone’s caring and kind-heartedness. Why then, shouldn’t I show this particular young man the same thoughtfulness and consideration that I’d received in the past? After all isn’t this what it means to practise the Golden Rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you?
This Golden Rule, although being a blueprint for civilized action, springs from a spiritual basis. It embodies the qualities of genuine humanity, thoughtfulness and caring. When activated in thought, these character traits grease the wheels of society. They make life more agreeable for ourselves, and others. I’m sure that if I had to do that young man’s job, I would hope that someone would be thoughtful enough to care for my needs.
Following the Golden Rule, and treating others as we would have them treat us, brings with it a great sense of pleasure. There’s something truly gratifying in being able to meet someone else’s need – without any thought of reward. That’s why my mother lived her life by the axiom: If you’ve had a kindness shown you, pass it on.
For my mother, unselfish acts, common decency and consideration for others, were essential spiritual characteristics to be practised at home, school, in the workplace and elsewhere. I’ll always be grateful that she taught me that life-lesson. Such spiritual training has led me to what I call my ‘golden rule of caring’ – that is, be kind and help others as you would like them to be kind and help you, and, do it without expecting anything in return. This rule of caring has been a life-changer for me. It could also be a world-changer.
So if you’re into life-changing, world-changing actions, why not,
1. endorse my ‘golden rule of caring’ and carry it out
2. think of random acts of kindness as the norm
3. genuinely care for and support one another
4. replace selfishness with thoughtfulness
5. let big-heartedness reign supreme in your thought and deeds.
Now don’t you agree that this is something worth working for!
This article also appeared on Motherpedia – an online community for Mums by Mums