One day I took a walk with Chloe and Cole. Cole loves his big sister, and expressed an interest for her to walk with him. In response, Chloe sped up and walked ahead, leaving Cole behind.
Cole was understandably upset by his big sister's behavior. All he wanted was to walk with her, and she'd completely scorned him for no other reason I could tell than that she knew he wanted her to walk with him. I called Chloe back to us so I could talk to her about it.
Of course, Chloe knew what she'd done. And she knew she was about to be corrected for it. So as an apparent preemptive strike, Chloe walked back toward me with her hands held out. "Hold me," she pleaded, thinking that would make things better (for her, at least).
I resisted the urge to gather her into my arms. "Why did you run ahead when you knew your brother wanted to walk with you?"
"Was that a very nice thing to do?"
"How would you like it if I treated you the way you just treated Cole? What if you wanted me to pick you up, but I turned around and walked away from you? Would you like that?"
"Then why would you do that to Cole?"
"I don't know."
"Chloe," I said as I did finally gather her - and Cole - into my arms, "we should treat others the way we want to be treated" (Luke 6:31, paraphrased). "If you don't want someone to ignore you and walk away from you, then don't ignore someone else and walk away from them."
As a child, the Golden Rule was one of the first things I learned in church. It's short. It's simple. It's easy to remember.
It's much harder to put into practice, though, isn't it? We know how we want to be treated - kindly, lovingly, respectfully. Yet we sometimes have a hard time treating others the same way.
I think it's because it's too easy to focus on ourselves, rather than on the other person. We want to be in charge. We want to be left alone. We want to do our own thing.
But if doing our own thing hurts another, should we do it? Would we want them to do their own thing if it ended up hurting us?
That's the lesson I tried to convey to Chloe. She thought about it for a moment, then nodded her head. She reached over, took her brother by the hand and together we all continued our walk.
Parrish Myers is a local minister. His column appears every other week in Sunday Life and on gainesvilletimes.com.