I was talking to a member of the congregation, and she asked me, “You ever have one of those days where you come home and want to just close the curtains, ignore the phone and just hide under the covers?”
She was asking rhetorically, but if she really wanted to know, I would have told her that I absolutely have days like that. And while she lives alone and can spend her evenings in solitude when she wants, shutting everyone out is much more difficult when you have a spouse and two young kids under the same roof.
Now hear me, because I’d be a fool to complain about having a beautiful wife and a healthy son and daughter, not to mention a job that takes a lot of mental and emotional effort to do well. I’m just making a point about the Golden Rule:
“Treat other people the way you want to be treated.” You find this idea is taught in most religions and ethical codes all over the world, and it makes a lot of sense. You want respect, give others respect. You want to be heard, try listening. It’s pretty solid.
Except when it’s not. The Golden Rule will get you far, but what about those days when you want to chat it up but those around you would rather be left alone? You feel like being talkative, so you talk. You’re treating the other person the way you would want to be treated. Only problem is, everyone doesn’t want to be treated the same way you want to be treated all the time.
Some people enjoy being made fun of by friends because the feel the love in it. Some others will wilt when they are the butt of a joke.
Your feelings aside, some people love, need, and expect you to be a drill sergeant, some people would resent you if you acted as such.
Sometimes, the Golden Rule ain’t enough.
In my former life as a sales pro, I came across an idea called the Platinum Rule. It says to treat others the way they want to be treated. I don’t think this concept is all the way better than the Golden Rule because the fact is, a lot of people don’t want to be challenged and a lot of people don’t know what they want from others anyway. But it is still worth considering. I may want to be left alone to watch the game, so I pop in an Elmo DVD in the other room to occupy my 2 year old. But he wants to play a game, and he’s tugging at my leg. In that instance, the way I want to be treated takes a backseat.
Sometimes, the Golden Rule Ain’t enough.