Across the Way with Brenda: The Green and Golden Rule
Recently, I called my husband Jay to ask him a quick question. I don’t remember the topic because it wasn’t pressing or high priority. I simply had a moment, which was convenient for me, so I decided it was a good time to talk. Since it was in the midst of a busy workday, I didn’t think twice when I didn’t reach him. The surprise, and the lesson, happened when my phone rang only a few minutes later. Jay was calling me back after stealing a moment to take a deep breath and calm down. What I couldn’t have known was Jay had been in the middle of a demanding and stressful afternoon.
While I was going through my own day – experiencing my own busy schedule and ongoing ‘to-do’ list – I wasn’t tuned into how his day might be going. Jay, however, intentionally stopped and decided to follow the Golden Rule. Okay, I can’t resist Echo Lake, going forward we’ll refer to it as the Green & Golden Rule. Back to Jay… it would have been so easy for him to pick up the phone when I called and “share” his stress with me. The conversation would have likely been clouded by tension and might have left us both feeling depleted. His commitment to treating me in the way he would have wanted me to treat him allowed us to have a positive conversation.
As terrific as that is, that’s not the best part! By him choosing to treat me with kindness and patience, Jay opened the door for me doing the same for him – and he really needed that from me that afternoon. Taking only one moment – one breath – to stop and follow the Green and Golden Rule will likely get you closer to what you really want and need from the people around you. It is such a simple principle, yet so powerful.
By choosing to practice this manner of treating people, we can nurture respect and positivity. The actions and reactions we settle on determine how one conversation, one experience, one day or even one relationship will go. If, more often, we decided to pause and consider the immediate and long term impact of our words and actions, we could influence our environment and so many around us in a positive way.
You come into each conversation with someone carrying either a positive or negative energy. Whether you bring enthusiasm and exuberance or pessimism and disinterest, you are potentially determining the direction of not only that specific experience, but the course of your entire day!
Many rules can be tricky. Are they just for a certain group of people? Are they just for a certain setting? Does someone have to police them? Is there a consequence for breaking them?
The beauty of the Green & Golden Rule:
- You can (and should) practice this ANYWHERE – home, school, sports, walking down the street…and of course at CAMP! You can positively influence your environment wherever you go!
- You can (and should) practice this with ANYONE – friends, family, teachers, coaches, strangers. Imagine how great YOU will feel by elevating the spirits of those you interact with.
- Consequences? Undoubtedly! Test it out and see what happens. If you start treating others exactly the way you would want them to treat you, you will see and feel those positive consequences right away!
- It’s simple and straightforward. You don’t need to feel uncomfortable or awkward. Start with the basics: smile, be polite, be patient and be respectful. We all know what to do, we simply need to remember that every interaction is an opportunity to make someone or some place a little bit better than when we started.
In case you were wondering, that afternoon Jay was still busy, but after our conversation that day he felt supported and encouraged. How did I feel? So lucky to be reminded of how important it is to practice the Green and Golden Rule any chance I get!