You Will Never Be Sorryby Byron Pulsifer © 2007
The poem below is one which I found tucked in a book that I had purchased at an auction.
for thinking before acting,
for hearing before judging, for forgiving your enemies,
for being candid and frank, for helping a fallen brother,
for being honest in business, for thinking before speaking,
for standing by your principles, for stopping your ears to gossip,
for bridling a slanderous tongue, for sympathizing with the afflicted,
for being courteous and kind to all.
In reading this poem, I had to ask the question, what does it mean? For me, what it boils down to is this: always act, behave, and take action towards other people, or situations, as you would want to be treated. Remember, model the behavior you would expect from others, and don't be swayed from these convictions by those seeking to belittle your actions.
Examples of this principle are found in almost every aspect of life. Take, for example, just the other day early in the week, Catherine and I were on our way to town down our icy, country road. As we approached a sharp turn in the road, a logging truck came at us from the opposite direction. In attempting to keep clear of this large truck, I moved to the right even further believing that I was firmly on the road. But, what appeared to be a plowed shoulder of the road was really a deep, snow covered ditch.
The right front wheel caught the ditch and sent us down the side, and launched us over a driveway and into a pile of snow on the other side. In getting out to examine our mishap, I noticed that we had demolished the owner's gate marker. It wasn't a big gate marker, only a piece of metal with an inexpensive red plastic reflector. I went to the house to let them know what happened, but nobody was home. Later, I learned that this owner was never home through the week, and was only home on weekends.
After we were pulled out of the ditch, we went on our way to town returning late in the evening. How easy would it be just to forget about this inexpensive gate marker and not bother to approach the owner? After all, it wasn't anybody we knew anyway. But, keeping the principle above in mind, ask yourself, how would you like to be treated? If someone ran over your gate marker, even by accident, how would you like to be treated? Is it permissible just to forget about it and go on your merry way?
The short answer is to keep to your principles - treat others as you would like to be treated. In this case, I returned to the scene and the owner's home on the weekend. I went to the door and introduced myself as the person who ran over his gate marker, and offered to buy him a new one and install it in the spring. What do you think this owner replied? First of all, he was glad to learn that no one was hurt, and secondly, after I offered to replace his marker, he was adamant that it really didn't matter about the marker at all because it wasn't important when a personal injury could have resulted.
In each day, there are a number of choices that we have to make and some of these are at the conscious level that requires a thought process but others are more at the subconscious level where we do things because they are routine in nature. Some of these more subconscious choices may not be the best actions or behaviors, though, and it is these behaviors that we may wish to more closely examine to see whether we are acting consistent with the way we really want to act or should act. If we are to be the way we really want, our reactions, actions, attitudes and behaviors need to surface to a conscious condition where we spend the necessary time to think through what we are really doing and saying and this includes are body language as well.
Model the behavior in your everyday life in a way that always reflects how you would like to be treated. The everyday opportunities are many, aren't they?
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