“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” –Lao Tzu
Recently I took an online training course called “Ethical Leadership” as a requirement for my position as Assistant Treasurer of the PTSA (Parent Teacher Student Association) Board at my kids’ school. I procrastinated taking the course, assuming it would be long and boring and hackneyed as these types of trainings often are. I have to say that I was more than pleasantly surprised.
The best part of the course was the Introduction, which began with The Golden Rule (also known as The Ethic of Reciprocity). But it was not just the Christian version (“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”) that was presented. The first page of the course was a scrolling list of the Golden Rule from a variety of traditions around the world.
Here are some of my favorites:
A Yoruba Proverb (from Nigeria): “One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts.”
Chief Dan George (A Native American Spiritual Leader): We are as much alive as we keep the earth alive.”
Guru Granth Sahib (Sikhism):“I am a stranger to no one, and no one is a stranger to me.”
From the Baha’i Faith: “Lay not on any soul a load that you would not wish to be laid upon you, and desire not for anyone the things you would not desire for yourself.” (Baha’u’llah)
From The Wiccan Rede:“An it harm no one, do what thou will.”
And finally, from The Universal Declaration of Human Rights of the United Nations General Assembly:“All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
I could go on. For another couple of pages. There are versions of the Golden Rule in Buddhism, Islam, Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, from ancient Greek and Egyptian philosophers, and from non-religious humanitarian groups around the world.
This is the kind of thing that really gets me going. I love being inspired and discovering that an organization I am associated with has higher ideals than I might have imagined always inspires me. (It reminds me of how I felt when I first started working at Verity and realized this credit union aspires to be much more than just a place to store your money.)
To the outside observer the PTSA may look like just a bunch of moms raising money for pizza parties and field trips, but we are working towards nothing less than changing the world by treating each other as we want to be treated. And isn’t that all anybody really wants?
The truth is, despite our differences and disagreements over the years and across the miles, ALL of us, ALL around the world, have the key – in our books and in our hearts – to world peace. We just need to use it.
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