Do Unto Others

Curious preschoolers and young children often turn to their parents for answers to questions and solutions to life’s problems. Some are simple, “Teddy is stuck between the bars of the bed. I scraped my knee and it hurts. Billy hit me. Make him stop! I can’t untie my shoes.” Some are more complex, “Who is God? What is a B-a-r? Mommy, why do people do that? How did those people get into the radio?”

Some of the answers children receive are carried throughout life. Throughout my childhood and adolescent years, frequently my Mother encouraged us to do our own problem-solving by asking facilitative questions like, what do you think you (we) should do about it? For a few questions, we were sent to research answers. Other times, she had an assortment of well-rehearsed, ready answers and solutions that seemed to fit just right for the occasion. The tape that runs through my mind most often is a remnant of a poem mother recited from time to time:

…There is a destiny that makes all men brothers.
None goes his way alone.
All that you send into the lives of others,
Comes back into your own.

There were many meanings and uses for the poem. Often in a tone of caution, it was used to teach: a) Respect for other people and their property; and b) Value for the other, for s/he is a part of you.

It also speaks to how we are all connected to one another and that harming another is tantamount to harming oneself. The flip side is that gracing others with kind or charitable words and deeds often merits reciprocity and a return of goodwill – even if not from the recipient of our words and deeds. It was almost as if the “magic eye in the sky” was taking copious notes and keeping a permanent record. I suppose the phrase, “what goes around, comes around,” rings so true for me. The mere thought of infringing on another is cause for pause. An accidental violation is a mental demerit and a signal to quickly make amends and keep the slate/score in the positive column.

Consider what it is that you are currently sending out into the world. Reflect on what is coming back to you. What pressing ideas are confronting you that you are currently resisting or unwilling to act upon? What beautiful change awaits your thoughtful attention? Then as you feel the stress of daily life around you, release it by sharing with the people your life touches. We will use this newsletter as one means for us to do just that. Answers are out there when we are ready to receive them. Some are simple. Some are more complex.

For starters, I offer some gender-neutral words to the poet who is anonymous to me right now:

There is a destiny, which connects us all

None moves through life alone

All that you send into the lives of others

Comes back into your own.

Take care to enjoy the exchange.