Recently I was travelling to visit my son, his wife and my granddaughter.
It is a long flight, and I was sitting next to an elderly gentleman who explained to me that he is the carer for his ailing wife, and has been doing this fulltime for a number of years. He was lucky enough to have been covered by his family so that he could go on a holiday for a few weeks. He was going to our destination for the first time, and was excited as it was a place he had always wanted to visit. He had little money and was going to be staying in a caravan park – as he did not have the money to travel or do much else.
As the plane landed I found out that he was going to be staying in a holiday park some 15km from the airport, and was going to try and catch a bus to get there. I briefed my son, who was there picking me up – and he immediately offered to drive the elderly man to the caravan park (even though it was in the opposite direction to his home and there was no offer of money for petrol).
We drove the gentleman to his caravan park and my son, who chatted to him the whole way, then gave the man his mobile phone number and told him that he should call if he needs help or any assistance on his visit. The man was more than thankful, and that was the last time we saw him.
Interestingly enough, this stranger had his holiday, and went home, at which time wrote to the local tourist bureau with a detailed letter on the hospitality and kindness he experienced (courtesy of my son). He explained how the compassion and generosity had made him feel, and had made him decide he was definitely going to return to the same location next time he gets to have another holiday.
The tourist bureau surprised us by awarding my son with a special framed award as part of the local tourist industry awards. It was the first time they had ever awarded a public individual, as these awards are normally just for corporate tourist companies. My son was stunned that he was being validated at state level for such a simple common courtesy that should be common place amongst people.
The whole thing got me reflecting on the fact that caring for another individual, and showing a little kindness, is such a wonderful virtue.
The elderly gentleman in this case was a total stranger, who was not asking for help, but my son offered it anyway. I must admit, I would not have done as my son did – and the fact that my son has such compassion for others, has opened my eyes and had me look at my own considerations. My resolution is try to treat others as I would want them to treat me.
“If one were to think over how he or she would like to be treated by others, one would evolve the human virtues. Just figure out how you would want people to treat you. You would possibly, first of all, want to be treated justly: you wouldn’t want people lying about you or falsely or harshly condemning you. Right?
You would probably want your friends and companions to be loyal: you would not want them to betray you.
You could want to be treated with good sportsmanship, not hoodwinked nor tricked.
You would want people to be fair in their dealings with you.
You would want them to be honest with you and not cheat you. Correct?
You might want to be treated kindly and without cruelty.
You would possibly want people to be considerate of your rights and feelings.
When you were down, you might like others to be compassionate.
Instead of blasting you, you would probably want others to exhibit self – control. Right?
If you had any defects or shortcomings, if you made a mistake, you might want people to be tolerant, not critical.
Rather than concentrating on censure and punishment, you would prefer people were forgiving. Correct?
You might want people to be benevolent toward you, not mean nor stingy.
Your possible desire would be for others to believe in you, not doubt you at every hand.
You would probably prefer to be given respect, not insulted.
Possibly you would want others to be polite to you and also treat you with dignity. Right?
You might like people to admire you.
When you did something for them you would possibly like people to appreciate you. Correct?
You would probably like others to be friendly toward you.
From some you might want love.
And above all, you wouldn’t want these people just pretending these things, you would want them to be quite real in their attitudes and to be acting with integrity.
You could probably think of others. And you would have worked out the summary of what are called the virtues It requires no great stretch of imagination for one to recognize that if he were to be treated that way regularly by others around him, his life would exist on a pleasant level. And it is doubtful if one would build up much animosity toward those who treated him in this fashion.
Now what do you suppose would happen if one were to try to treat those around him with justness, loyalty, good sportsmanship, fairness, honesty, kindness, consideration, compassion, self – control, tolerance, forgivingness, benevolence, belief, respect, politeness, dignity, admiration, friendliness, love, and did it with integrity?
It might take a while but don’t you suppose that many others would then begin to try to treat one the same way?
Even allowing for the occasional lapses—the news that startles one half out of his wits, the burglar one has to bop on the head, the nut who is driving slow in the fast lane when one is late for work—it should be fairly visible that one would lift oneself to a new plane of human relations. One’s survival potential would be considerably raised. And certainly one’s life would be a happier one.
One can influence the conduct of others around him. If one is not doing that already, it can be made much easier to do so by just picking one virtue a day and specializing in it for that day.
Doing that, they would all eventually be in.
Aside from personal benefit, one can take a hand, no matter how small, in beginning a new era for human relations.
The pebble, dropped in a pool, can make ripples to the furthest shore.
The way to happiness is made much brighter by applying the precept: “Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you ‘‘. LRH Book: The Way to Happiness