When you walk into my kitchen, which is where my family spends most of the time I have parenting hints, interesting articles, and reminders posted. I have a worksheet on how to encourage your kids to try new foods. I have a page that helps put words to big feelings. I add and remove different tips and tricks depending on what stage my girls are at. This month I typed up the Golden and Silver Rules and taped them prominently to the laundry room door.
I think that these are important guidelines for personal relationships but definitely need an expanded explanation.
Golden Rule: DO UNTO OTHERS AS YOU WOULD HAVE THEM DO UNTO YOU.
The big debate about this rule is should we treat others the way they want to be treated or the way we want to be treated. I know during Covid I want grace, extra patience, hugs, love, reminders, time for breath and most importantly the benefit of the doubt. Any person in my life would benefit from being treated with all of those things, there is no downside. But I can definitely be treating someone in all the ways I want to be treated and that still not be enough for them, it’s a good launching point in my relationships. My husband might want to be treated all those ways and some (not nagging, reminding and correcting him constantly and saying thank you). If I was only treating him the way I wanted to be treated his love cup wouldn’t be full. I know that also if he treated me the way that he wants to be treated I would be resentful and might even not feel as loved as I could be. The golden rule is a great reminder, a breath before action, but it’s not enough to really prosper in an intimate relationship.
What about the general public, how can this rule help. Honestly, its been a long time since I have interacted with many people outside of my family. I have a great example of how this rule preserves my relationships. When someone arrives at 12:07 for a noon coffee date. I immediately become irritated and want to know why they were late. But when I follow the golden rule I can ask myself a few questions… would I want the benefit of the doubt? I would have showed up late because something unavoidable kept me, my kid was melting down, or I simply forgot. I would be embarrassed and regretful, having my friend point it out would make me feel worse. Obviously this doesn’t apply in all situations but is a reminder look at myself first before others.
Silver Rule: DON’T DO FOR OTHERS WHAT THEY NEED TO DO FOR THEMSELVES
The silver rule is newer to me. It is perfectly timed to enter my life. I pick up toys constantly. I often also do things that my kids, housemates, husband could do because it seems easier. I don’t want conflict with my daughter about her messes or I don’t want to prolong bedtime, so she acts shocked when I ask her to clean things up. Who am I helping by putting away her toys?
I also am a self admitted perfectionist Type A personality. I struggle with letting other people help because they won’t do it the “right” way. Other people need to help to feel apart of there community and space, my need to do it a specific way isn’t helpful to myself or them.
Lastly the emotional space that caretaking and codependency take up. This would be a larger struggle for me. I love to caretake and overstep in the helpful area, but the reminder teaching a man to fish is better than feeding him for a day. The way I can practice the golden rule in my relationships is reminding myself I can be useful teaching or helping but not by doing.