No Small Kindness

“Do to others as you would have them do to you.”-Jesus

“Treat others like you want to be treated.”-Lou Holtz

“If you treat people right they will treat you right… ninety percent of the time.” -Franklin D. Roosevelt

Many of us have heard these sayings, or similar sayings, over and over again.  We are told that our relationships with family, with friends, with co-workers, with fellow shoppers, will be fine and dandy if we just do this one little thing.  Now, I am not to going to argue with Jesus that He was wrong.  What is wrong is our perception of this advice.  When we confront someone about a perceived shortcoming on his or her part, we back up our actions with “Well, I would want someone to tell me what I did wrong.”  That is not true.  I know that, although I would want to know that I did something in an incorrect way, I want to be told gently and lovingly, not made to feel inferior or unintelligent.  Most of the time, when one takes the aforementioned stance, he or she knows, even if only sub-consciously, that there was a better way to communicate.

“The way you see people is the way you treat them, and the way you treat them is what they become.” –Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

This advice from Goethe is a good reminder that all of our actions towards others have an impact, whether positive or negative.  To put this slant to practice in the workplace, here is a suggestion.  Remember that each staff person is someone’s daughter or son.  How would you want someone in your position of authority to deal with your son or daughter?  Many of the staff members are possibly parents or grandparents.  How would you want others to treat your own mom, dad, grandparents?  Looking at the issue of relationships, especially in the workplace, it is much more compassionate to use the “How do I want my family treated” aspect than the “I would want to know…” scenario.

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My final piece of advice on this matter is actually quite wise advice from another.

“Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again.” -Og Mandino

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