Monday, June 28, 2021

Flipping the Golden Rule

 Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. A fundamental Christian tenet, this basic moral recommendation can be found in all major religions and philosophies. Here’s the Buddhist advice: Hurt not others with that which pains yourself. From Taoism: Regard your neighbor’s loss as your own loss. For more interpretations,  go to


Lately the sign “Be Kind” has been cropping up on lawns in my town, maybe in yours as well. These signs get me thinking about why we need a reminder. How many times does this rule get flipped into doing unto others as they have done to you?


I’m fresh off the online conference for the Association for Body Mapping This year’s conference included several strong presentations on emotions in learning and teaching as well as how they impact performance anxiety. In one of those sessions, the question of teachers as bullies popped up. Most of the attendees admitted to having had at least one teacher who would fit that label.


If you had that kind of teacher, did you take that style into your teaching? Or did you change course and go the other way? Did you see this method as a successful way to get results because you were treated that way? If so, was there a point when you realized you were perpetuating a practice that no longer served you and your students? What was that point?


Tough questions, perhaps, because we may acknowledge certain times that were less than golden. Maybe just one lesson. Maybe just one student that seemed to need more push than hand-holding, and it went a step too far. Maybe you grew up in an environment with that practice as the norm.


Passing our experiences into our practice is 100% normal. When it is good learning, it becomes good teaching. When it is reactionary, not so much.


First step: Spend some quiet time with the question.

Second step: If you find something you don’t like to remember or observe, forgive yourself and choose not to repeat it. I've found some in my memory banks that I'd rather not repeat.

Third: You can be clear and decisive and still be kind to others and yourself. Practice it.


Pass it on.