Tuesday, November 4, 2014

What ever happened to the Golden Rule?

Luke 6:31 - “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Confucius – “Do not do to others that which we do not want them to do to us.”

Ancient Hindu teaching – “Do not do unto others which would cause pain if done to you.”

Philosophers call it the ethic of reciprocity.

As I started to prepare some notes for our upcoming bullying prevention summit, I couldn’t help but recall the simple teachings of what most of us learned as the "Golden Rule”.  Cultures around the world have used these words or similar words to teach others the concept of empathy.

Of course, those ancient cultures and many modern ones as well, didn’t necessarily think that they should apply the rule to their enemies or their slaves.  So, for many it is a selective empathy.  Still, I think the Golden Rule, in the many ways it can be expressed, has to be a foundational belief for preventing bullies.

You may find this hard to believe, but from where I sit, I have to mediate more adult bullies and adult accusations of bullies than those of children. You would think that educated people in a government culture would be nicer to each other.  You would think that these people would also have the skills to mediate their own conflicts.

These conflicts seem to come from 2 primary sources. 

  1. A colleague says something perceived to be rude, mean or hateful.
  2. A supervisor says something perceived to be rude, mean or critical.

For number one, my general response has to be, “Come on people.  So you really need me to be Dr. Phil and get you both in chairs in my office and to ask you what he said and ask you to tell him how that made you feel.”  Golden rule people!  There is a chance that that person who stepped on your pride may not even know he did so.  Why don’t you tell him that his words hurt you, rather than tell me?  Model for the children how adults resolve their differences.

For number two, most times I would respond the same as number one.  But, there is also this condition that causes many people to be hyper-sensitive to constructive criticism and direction.  I have found supervisors, who have communicated very explicit, direct expectations without anger or threat.  They even say please and thank you, yet they are referred to as bullies.  There is a big difference in being a bully and being bossy.  We employ a number of bosses and they may on occasion need to be bossy.  I’m OK with that.  Sometimes, calling a committee and asking them what they think and how they feel is not appropriate. 

So let’s not forget the value of the Golden Rule.  Treat others like you want to be treated.  It’s as simple as that.


  1. Please, please, please stop writing this Blog. You opened it with the promise of discussing a variety of issues. So far, and rather embarrassingly so, it has been nothing but an attack on your employees. Your last Blog should have been an email to your staff, rather than a spilling of internal conflict to the community. To me, this sounds more like a reality show rather than a place where children are educated to succeed in the world. This shows a lack of professionalism and decent courtesy. Children learn so much from watching the adults. What do they learn from this?
    Your Blog has provided absolutely no insight into your vision or plan for the future of Calvert County Public Schools. You are the result of a national search, please take a national look at what highly successful superintendents are posting on their websites and where they are directing their attention and resources. They are forming book clubs, conducting town hall meetings, and staying focused on the arduous business of educating children. When I walk into the schools, I see professionals conducting themselves as professionals. Please stop the Blog and focus on doing the same.
    Thank you.

  2. As an employee and someone who has worked in CCPS for over 20 years. I believe Dr. Curry has done an outstanding job of sharing insightful views/thoughts. He is NOT condescending or insulting in anyway. He has brought stability and leadership which was sorely lacked here. As stated above, the blog states that it will contain "thoughts worth sharing" - I believe that this particular entry is worth thinking about. Any parent/adult should not be offended by a reference to “The Golden Rule”. In my 20+ years here I have been able to build relationships with lots of others from various buildings and job titles in CCPS. Everyone (unanimously) that I talk to, believes the same thing that I just mentioned. Writing negative comments because you are bitter is a waste of energy. I would think sending suggestions in a positive tone would be listened to much more than trying to rip someone down for no reason. Please, please, please stop trying to bring others down by bitterness.

  3. When you mentioned that ancient cultures don't necessarily teach the golden rule to refer to their enemies, you were partly correct. The only culture that did was Christianity. In the story of the Good Samaritan, 2 cultural/religious leaders passed by a Jew who was lying half dead in the street instead of helping him. A Samaritan (one who was hated among the Jews) stopped to help the man-giving him food, medicine, and money. How often do we have the chance to help someone who we don't necessarily like or get along with? Even in the schools, we teach the kids to stay away from the other kids they don't get along with. We should be promoting the Good Samaritan behavior and the Golden Rule more often in our community. Thank you so much for your blog.

  4. Consider CCPS refusal to follow the State Constitution with respect to the Golden Rule. Every procedure in Calvert County is in violation of state law because the School Board never approved them. The Procedures house all the rules and regulations of the school system and the School Board must approve them. Dr Curry - please review this topic and ensure our school system has the oversight required by state law. Our kids deserve it. CCPS must follow the Golden Rule if it expects its citizens and employees to do the same.