Regardless of your religion, you’ve surely heard a version of this Golden Rule: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” I bet you agree that this “gold standard” of behavior is a good idea. A society is more civilized if most people follow it. But dang… it sure is hard to live up to! Can’t I just make up a Gold-Plated Rule that doesn’t require as much commitment?
I could just follow the Gold-Plated Rule when I intentionally slow down in front of an aggressive driver who is tailgating me; or when I pass along gossip that is just too good to sit on. I could achieve this “almost-gold standard” when I lose my temper and make snide comments in public. Gold-plated is pretty good, right?
With the news about how politicians (Edwards, Spitzer, Schwarzenegger, Weiner, insert next name here) have treated their wives lately, I can’t help but wonder if they even reach aluminum status. They’ve gone way beyond bad manners to being destructive to their marriages.
Just like after the Tiger Woods scandal, I piled on the bandwagon and took shots at these Golden Rule breakers… but on second thought, maybe this could be a teaching moment. To borrow another biblical phrase, “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.” Unless each of us can claim 100% Golden Rule eligibility, do we really have a right to tear anyone else down?
Let’s be clear… I’m not defending their behavior. I’m commenting about how we react to it. You could argue that life in the public spotlight is a choice, and along with the power and prestige comes a target already pasted on one’s back. I could argue that the private spotlight can be just as bright if you turn it on yourself. We all make mistakes we wish we could take back.
The point is that we should strive for Gold… to treat others with respect at all times, to the very best of our ability. That way when you fall down, which to some degree everyone does, others may treat you with sympathy and support instead of slings and arrows.
We should never be satisfied with gold-plated.