Monday, July 28, 2014

Forgetting the Golden Rule = Clash of the Humans

I am more and more amazed at what people think, and then say or even post on social media. Some may be saying the same about me after reading this post, but whatever, because mine is a message of tolerance and acceptance not one of "My way is better than yours" or "I was here first."

My hometown has experienced a transition of population over the last twenty years or so. People from far away places, with alternate beliefs and ways of life have moved into the area. I think this is a good thing, but many disagree and loudly so. These people are called "Ridgers" or "Hippies" by their so-called haters. They call themselves "Progressives." Many came to Viroqua, WI seeking out the advantages of having access to a Waldorf education in a small town setting. Plus, I live in "the driftless area" meaning that the glaciers did not come through here, leaving the beautiful landscape of green rolling hills and coulees. Visitors often say how they'd love to live here.

My little town was going down the path to becoming a ghost town or at least with an abandoned Main Street. Can you guess whether or not we have a Wal-Mart? Of course we do. That's the first sign of a dying town. It's like when sitcoms will bring in a new child to the family to try reviving the series. It usually only lasts for a short while. People think that Wal-Mart will save the day since now we have access to cheap (in both senses of the word) food and clothing. Residents are then bewildered when the family-run businesses of our Main Street were closing their doors as they cannot compete with WalMart's pricing. I'm happy to say I have not shopped there since 2/11/11 as I try to support the locally run businesses, but I digress.

The newer residents of the area have influenced many changes for the good that people seem to overlook or forget about like a food co-op, several new businesses on the Main Street, a community theatre organization, and some new restaurants. If it were not for many of the newer residents bringing life back into our downtown, it would be a long line of empty buildings.

This lead me to think about the same thing in schools. What if your child were to be "the new kid" and he or she dressed differently, spoke differently, liked different foods, or had a different religious belief? Would you want your child to be treated like the outcast or to be welcomed into the group? Would you like your child's uniquenesses to be seen as assets or problems? Would you want your child labeled with a derogatory name? I think we know the answers to these obvious questions. We were all taught the Golden Rule when were were younger, but it often leaves the forefronts of our minds. We all need to be reminded of it; some of us more often than others. We need to ask ourselves, "Why do we treat others as we would never want to be treated?"

If we were all named Jenny, had blonde hair and blue eyes, measured 5'7" and agreed on everything, wouldn't the world be a boring place? I think so.


  1. I love this post... it gets at the heart & soul of what we are missing greatly in this world... compassion & empathy. We work too hard to fit in... which leaves us often times not sure what to believe, think, and feel. We become SO worried about others perceptions, we allow this mindset to take form us the one thing that makes us unique- individuality.

    The world is a better place because we think differently... we can see the world from different vantage points. Some of us are quick to want to solve, others want to sit & mull. Both great perspectives and greatly needed to get we are going.

    Thanks for the reminder... I want to find my own way in this world... not trailing behind someone else:)

    1. Thanks, Jana. :) Best wishes on "making your own way!" Kudos to you!!

  2. A very well written post. I think you nailed it dead on. Tolerance and acceptance are so important and it is something that not only needs to be taught but modeled as well.
    I would add besides physical differences what about learning and academic differences how do we want those students to be treated
    Thanks for sharing and participating

    1. Akevy,

      Thanks for bringing up differences in learning. :) Super point! I appreciate your feedback.

  3. I think that this is even more important now than ever before! When I was a kid the "Golden Rule" was common knowledge but I don't know if it is anymore. Some of my kids have a vague notion of it but that isn't nearly the same. As teachers, we are responsible for SO MUCH MORE than content. Diversity is what makes our country so fabulous and I hope that my students leave my room celebrating others and not bringing them down. Way to keep me on my toes to make sure I am doing this!

  4. Beautiful and from the heart! thank you for continuing to be a healthy "bridge" in our very diverse community.