It’s become too easy to forget or to ignore the Golden Rule. We can choose to follow the behavior examples we see on “reality” shows or we can be examples of better behavior.
A light rain - more like a drizzle - began to fall as I sat reading on my sofa. It was ideal: a good novel, a soft rain, and quiet. Then a young boy walked by my window and stopped. A second young boy joined him then a third and a fourth. The first boy saw the birdseed on my window sill, commented on it, and pretended to eat it. The first boy was also speaking loudly, as though his friends were down the street instead of near him. The third boy said, “Be quiet. Someone may live here.” The second boy rapped on my window. He and the first boy laughed. The fourth boy was leaning against my front door and kept thumping on it. They were in no hurry to go elsewhere. My quiet had been disturbed.
I opened the door and looked at each boy in turn and said to all, “Hi. How’re you doing?” They looked surprised, but they didn’t run. The third boy, the tallest, said, “We’re staying out of the rain.” I didn’t point out that he was the only one standing in it, I just said, “That’s a good idea.”
Most of the birdseed had been knocked off the sill when the first two boys had seated themselves on the brick, and I couldn’t see the water dish. “You saw the birdseed?” I asked. “Is the water dish still there?” The second boy said it had fallen, which really meant it had been put or knocked down. Without my asking, he picked it up and put it back on the sill.
I told them the birds sing to me and I feed them and make sure they have water. The second boy said, “There’s a bird’s nest in there.” He pointed to a gray mass draped on limbs and I told him it was moss that I’d placed there, that I would love if the birds used it for their nests. He asked what moss is and I asked if he knew what pineapple was. He did. I told him that although it didn’t look like it and you couldn’t eat it, moss was a member of the pineapple family.
The fourth boy, silent up to this point, said, “People used to use moss because they didn’t have toilet paper.” (I did mention they were young boys; and, I did tidy his actual statement.) I told him that moss had also been mixed with mud to make insulated walls for houses. He repeated his statement about moss, which he probably found more interesting and definitely more amusing than architecture, and I added that people once used corncobs, as well, which got their attention and them into animated conversation.
A woman’s voice called out. It was the mother of the first boy, poking her head out of their front door. She said something to him in Spanish. I smiled at each boy and said, “I’m going back to what I was doing. Stay dry.” They lingered for about a minute after I went inside then quietly went their separate ways.
I could have yelled at them to get away from my house, and for disturbing the birdseed and water – but I also recall being that age and believing any land with grass growing on it was public domain. I could have scolded them for discussing a nature’s-call matter, but instead gave them more info. I could have gritched about this to others, not to mention replayed it in my mind as a reason to be angry or upset. Instead, I have a much more pleasant memory to replay. They may never mention our several minutes together to others, but I could just as easily have given them a reason to talk unfavorably about me to their families and neighborhood friends. Instead, we engaged in a friendly and somewhat informative chat.
I’d shared with them about exchanging something (seed and water) with the birds for their songs, something unique about moss, and some pre-modern hygiene trivia. They’d reminded me that we really can choose how we engage with others, that courtesy doesn’t have to be a lost or forgotten or ignored art. And, that we more often than not find what we look for – in ourselves, others, and life.
They gave me the opportunity to practice the Golden Rule… to remember that each of us wants to be recognized as a member of the human family, whatever our age… to remember that children and adults benefit from positive examples, even if we never see the results. That in each and every moment we are an example of something for someone – or can be.
Interestingly, using courtesy is one way to simplify our lives a bit. It’s far too common for people to fly into fits of temper over matters that don’t really merit it, an act which usually creates an even bigger and unnecessary disturbance. It’s far too easy to forget courtesy can go a long way, with strangers, associates, and especially people we’re in our closest relationships with. Too easy to forget the Golden Rule is a facet of Law of Attraction: treat others as you wish to be treated… because you WILL be, if not by them, by others… because we wear our energetic vibrations like invisible clothing, which is “seen” and responded to by others and considered an instruction by Law of Attraction.
The boys gave me an opportunity to enter a state of appreciation that I can remember common courtesy should be used as often as possible and is rewarding on many levels. That use of it more often than not creates outward ripples. Courtesy costs nothing; and the significant returns can be great, starting with how we feel about ourselves, as well as the memories we create for us and others.
Practice makes progress.
© Joyce Shafer