It seems that dozens of wise folks from different time periods and different regions, different faiths and varying secular groups, have all passed down from generation to generation some version of the importance of doing to other people what we would hope they would do to us...
most of us know it as the golden rule.
This year has been challenging to a lot of people in a lot of ways, and perhaps as a reaction to the adversity and injustices that so many have endured (both in recent times and in centuries past), I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about kindness: remembering to be kind to your neighbors, kind to your fellow humans, and kind to yourself as you navigate the tricky terrain that is Earth in 2020. Bernice King (yes, that King), recently said: “Kindness matters. But kindness does not = justice. Civility counts. But calling for civility is not the humane response to injustice. Justice is. Love is essential. But love is not a passive, weeping bystander. Love puts in the work.”
There’s far more work that needs doing in 2020 than simply being nice to one another. But hopefully once justice and civility are met with respect and understanding for each other we can start to dream up a future together. As we act kindly to ourselves and one another, and as we (hopefully) begin to reach out with fairness and respect to other circles we’re not a part of, it might be a good idea to expand this Golden Rule lens—to think of how we can take the time to determine the role that individuality plays. How would we like to be treated as a city, as a state, as a nation, and as a people—and can we treat everyone the way that they would like to be treated?
we are in process...
As a people and as a city, we are on our way to becoming something wonderful. Where we live isn’t always a place on a map so much as a sort of roadmap we choose to live by along the way. Let’s keep comparing notes as a community and as a nation and as people on what tips we are learning with each other as we all journey toward finding that “home” where we feel safe, happy, fulfilled, and loved. Let’s investigate what it's like and what it has been like for folks that are different from us to live here in Salt Lake. To presume to know what’s best for another is an indication that we would rather look outside instead of doing our own difficult work inside—I think it’s human nature (and there is plenty of human nature in this town)—but it’s imperative that you know/love/respect yourself before you can really begin to know/love/respect your community. Can we do the hard and necessary task of getting out of our own commitment to being right so that we can actually hear from our neighbors who have been harmed without jumping to defend the institutions that have harmed them? Perhaps then we can begin to move toward healing and creating a community that’s actually “home” to all and not just some. What if when we saw a person that is uniquely different from us, we thought: “Well, damn...since we grew up differently, may believe differently, and likely see the world very differently, this is a perfect opportunity for me to learn from someone who probably knows a lot of things I would never think of about creating a better world.”
Perhaps we can have more of an awareness about the privilege we come with as we offer ourselves up in service toward bringing us all ever closer to a common goal. We can share and combine hopes and pain and joy and belief to create a city that’s more loving, more aware, more beautiful, more interesting and inspiring, more bold, more compassionate, more just, humble, and brave. It’s here that the counsel of the Golden Rule hopefully starts to feel a little less like a rule and a lot more like a tip from a wise friend who only wants us to do good by each other and ourselves (thanks, friend).