I don’t get much time to mingle with adults. I work out of a home office as a medical editor. It’s a lonely job, no office drama, no contact or connection with many people. It can be a lovely job and short commute, but very little interaction with others. So when I get the chance to have a conversation with someone my age or another parent–I call that a treat.
And so it happened one day, I was deep in a treat, chatting with another mom from my daughter’s school when my little sweetie ran up to me so excited with a new art project she had created. “Mommy! Look what I made for you in school! Look, Mommy! Look! See! Isn’t it pretty? Do you like it mom? Mom. Mom. Mommy! I made it for you!”
With each tug on my flannel shirt, with each mommy, the volume and intensity increased. And so did my blood pressure. I was raised that children should be seen and not heard, act like miniature adults without being given the simple dignity that a child’s voice mattered. And so the thinking goes: a vicious cycle of foolishness.
At first, I just continued talking and listening to my friend, seemingly oblivious to the little whirlwind that was begging for me to hear her, to see her. After a final tug on my shirt, I lost my cool. I whipped around, bent over and gave her some attention. The crushing kind.
“Can’t you see I’m talking to someone? Don’t interrupt!” I was more severe than I intended to be.
My daughter walked away slowly and immediately God whispered into my heart, “However you want people to treat you, so treat them … ”
I tried to act nonchalant, flashed a bright and cool smile at my mommy friend. Odd, isn’t it, how easy it is to be polite to a stranger and how difficult it is to be polite to someone you know and love with your whole heart and soul.
After a few minutes, it was time to go and I gave my daughter a shout “time to roll!” and God’s whisper struck a cord when my baby girl ignored me. I yelled again, “Time to go, honey!” She didn’t even acknowledge me, although I knew she heard me.
I am not sure there’s any better advice in this world than the Golden Rule. It’s so simple, so obvious, and so absolutely right; it needs no explanation, no advanced degree to apply. If you want to be respected, respect others. If you want to be loved, love others. If you want to be judged with mercy, show mercy to others. If you want others to listen to you, listen to others.
I could have handled it differently in that moment.
What actions and attitudes do we reflect into the world? In what ways do you practice the Golden Rule? Are there certain people in your life that it’s harder to apply it to?
“Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.” Matthew 7:12