5 Ways I Like to Be Treated

The Golden Rule states, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” I cannot expect people to treat me the way I’d like but I can treat others that way.

1. I like being seen and heard, when people respectfully reflect what I’ve stated and ask questions, giving me more time to develop my thoughts.

2. I like when people support my creative idea and help make it happen, being excited about them as if they were their own.

3. I like when people smile, say hello and appear happy or excited to see me. Hugs are an additional response that warms my soul.

4. I like when people aren’t in a rush but rather take a moment to get an update about my life and share from theirs, connecting in a real and authentic way.

5. I like when people empower me to solve my own problems by offering insight or wisdom they’ve gained from their own life experiences.

I can listen, support, smile, slow down and offer insight. Empathy is the basic practice of the Golden Rule, how would I feel? How would I want to be treated if it were me? 4/10/20 EMPATHY


This is me: Kendra Ruth

For the past 8 years I have been on a journey to develop a new character within myself, a complete 180. As an undergraduate at ASU, I became an intern with Arizona Interfaith Movement. This opened the door to aiding in the development of an non-profit educational program called AGREE.

AGREE stands for Arizona Golden Rule Educational Experiences. I had, up to that point, had no true connection with the Golden Rule and had no former awareness of AGREE. When I first met Sue Lynn Stiner, I had no idea how my life would change, for the better. She outlined the program up to that point and invited my input. So the story goes, I said “I can write a song for that,” in reference to the AGREE collection of fables.

This led to the following developments and successes:

  • The writing, composing, and recording of 12 original songs, teaching the Golden Rule through cultural lenses, entitles “Stars Shine Brightly” (Itunes/Youtube).
  • Traveling to the UN as a representative of AGREE, connecting the message of the Golden Rule with current leaders and organ supervisors.
  • Receiving and acting in the current job title AGREE Program Developer, as we aim to further this program in schools all over the state of Arizona.

So how did the Golden Rule change me? In increments. In small, droplets of life giving messages as I developed the arts experiences and taught in classrooms. The Golden Rule is a simple statement that takes you for a loop when you really dive into it.

For example, think about the following Golden Rule teachings from AGREE experiences:

  • Do you like it when others take the time to listen to you? Then create that same time for others to express too.
  • Do you appreciate having time and space to develop your own ideas, judgement-free? Then begin to help others experience that same feeling, helping them develop their ideas.
  • Do you want close friendships and meaningful connection? Find ways to create meaningful connections with others and explore how you can be a true friend.

It’s not about the way others choose to be, its about how you choose to be. Take responsibility for your own actions and from that stand point create the good you want to see all around you.

So, why do I write? Well, it occurred to me that there are good things happening all around me, everyday that I I’d like to pay attention to. Its easy to focus on the negative but powerful to search for the positive. So in the process of creating my own Golden Lens, I decided to keep a journal, a blog, that records those Golden moments I witness and honor the people who helped create them.

In conclusion, I hope to open more room for the positive, good things that are happening everyday and continue to develop this new Golden character within myself. I’M LEARNING EVERYDAY. GROWING EVERYDAY. SEEING MORE CLEARLY, EVERYDAY. PRACTICING THE GOLDEN RULE EVERYDAY.

ASU Advisor Charlie

“It’s not about numbers, it’s about getting you on the right path.” As a graduate from ASU, I’ve always been impressed by the academic support staff. In continuation of that, connecting with academic advisor Charlie over the past few weeks has been incredible. He lived the Golden Rule in every word he said to me. Not only by being honest and ensuring that it’s a good fit for me, versus focusing on my pocketbook, he also offered words of advice and boosted my confidence I feel like I can dream wild and remarkably have a way to see it through. He demonstrated not only respect for my words but a sense of empathy for my situation. He said. “I know what it feels like, I’ve tried so many different things.” He just genuinely wants to help people and share what he’s learned through years of trial and error. 12/2/20 RESPECT/EMPATHY

Careful the Things We Say

This is an account of something I witnessed that was unsettling. The two women were talking in audible voices, easy for others to hear. One woman was behind the register and the other accompanied by an adult male, was purchasing a large amount of items. Their conversation, which was lengthy, focused around declarations about the male gender, saying terrible and cruel things about men in great detail. I could not gather fully from their conversation why these ladies came to this decided conclusion about men but it was hard to hear. I looked with disbelief at them while the accompanying man quietly paid for the items. I glanced at the man in line behind me and felt I could not hold my tongue. I added a simple statement that men were wonderful and I am so grateful for their creation. The two women fell silent, gawked confusingly at me for a moment. The conversation shifted to the purchase, the man accompanying the other woman finished paying for the items and quietly said thank you as they left. Words are a free commodity, but to verbally obliterate an entire gender in public is a form of abuse and absolutely uncivil. 10/12/20 CIVILITY

Can we please go first?

I was waiting at the red light in my car, when I heard a succession of honking. I looked around and saw a young girl in the car next to me. She was waving at me eagerly. I rolled my window down to understand what was going on. Her mother and her were in the wrong lane and she asked if they could pull in front of me and please go first. I reflected quickly about how many times I’ve wished people would let me over when I’d pulled into the wrong lane. The spot we were in was extra tricky and I’d actually made the same mistake they had before. I agreed and waited for them to cross over as the light turned green. Two things I observed here, civility in the way I was approached. They could have attempted to zip ahead of me, or bite the bullet and drive an extra two miles before heading in the correct direction, but instead they attempted to communicate their situation and give me the option to consider their plea. Also empathy, since I’ve experienced similar experiences getting in the wrong lane, I know how it feels and and acted according to how I would want to be treated. 10/21/20 CIVILITY/EMPATHY

Golden Lessons from Hurricane Delta

We were all experiencing the same basic things (deprivation of sleep, comfort, certainty) and every person would choose how to interpret it. The letter was slipped under our hotel room door with the words “Mandatory Hurricane Evacuation”. As I read the instructions I fell into a momentary stupor, took a deep breath, then started packing for an overnight stay in an unknown safe place. At 5pm, we left our room to join a line of about 50 other guests. All having the same basic experience with different takes. Some were complaining (of course), some were happy and laughing, while some looked eagerly for any updates. After waiting for some time, transportation to the shelter began. We were transported in groups of about 10 people to a large warehouse. The line there was even longer and the building was not looking like a five star stay. When we entered in, there were rows of bunk beds, 2 people per bed (twin sized mattress). The staff did there best to stay calm but a few confessed this being their first hurricane and shared how nervous they felt. We were fed well, hamburgers and fries, with our basic needs provided for (very basic). When the building was reaching maximum occupancy the stress levels peaked. Many guests, including my sister’s family, were ushered into food pantries and storage areas as the bunks were all full. The night passed very slowly and the sights, smells, and sounds have left a lasting imprint on my mind. So the Golden Lessons? How we choose to act when devastation hits. The most prevalent feeling was community. Once we were all in, once the reality hit, humanity worked together to make room for everyone. New friendships were made. Laughter and conversations everywhere. Words of comfort and acts of service. Not to mention a birthday celebration at midnight as we were all awake anyways. The key word was civility, finding ways to get along despite the situation and differences. Everyone was eventually cared for and we all adjusted to the limiting circumstance, mattresses on boxes/shelves/ground. I’m sure many were griping and ready to rage about it as we left the next morning, but my interpretation of it is this: cumulatively we made the best of it and somehow the experience has become a treasure of connection and memory of humanity at its best. #CIVILITY 10/6/20


She looked confused standing there. Another a single woman nearby had left her seat and walked rapidly to the front, passing other passengers who were waiting their turn to exit the plane. She had followed with her family following behind her. She stood there, realizing she had misunderstood the situation and the other woman’s lead. You could hear passengers whispering to each other about the single woman, who was not glancing backward or acknowledging her choice and it’s subtle affect on others. She simply stood facing forward as if nothing happened. An audible dialogue started about why she got out of her seat prematurely cutting in front of about 60 people.There was a feeling of unrest yet an underlying civility. I too chose to engage in the conversation, I felt that indeed they all rose too early. An honest mistake on the families part, seemingly intentional on the single woman’s part. So the family waited, realizing the misunderstanding. I enjoyed engaging in conversation with her and I respect the fact that she chose to wait, not proceeding to cut in front of additional people. I invited her to go ahead of me. Our decisions do effect others, however small. Civility is needed in all social situations, focusing on how we handle challenging situations is very important. 9/30/20 CIVILITY

Golden Grand Canyon

The canyon was pretty empty compared to the last time I’d visited with people crowding everyone. Not only were people scare, but visitor centers were closed and large signs directed visitors to the vista. At the Grand Canyon, you have the opportunity to walk the rim, a beautiful experience I’d recommend to anyone. Wheelchair accessible. As I returned from the walk, about an hour later, people were gathering at several viewpoints along the path and slowly everyone began falling silent. The sun was setting. Families, couples, tour groups, children. We all joined together to reverence the setting sun. It was remarkable. Without a word being spoken, we showed due respect to this glorious creation The Grand Canyon. RESPECT 7/11/20

Golden Rule Smile in Globe

Her smile was apparent, even behind the mask. I stood in line for the ladies room, a line that was surprisingly long, which gave me the opportunity to watch her interact with customers. Her smile seemed to be a permanent feature on his happy face. I’m not one to leave a question unasked, so I said, “It seems a smile never leaves your face, why is that?”, to which she replied, “I smile because it prevents me from letting life consume me.” She described how she chooses happiness every day, describing this to me with his happy eye “crinkles” and genuinely kind gaze. I would have continued the conversation to learn more but the line did move and she had customers to help. Maybe another trip to Globe is called for, just to talk to this kind hearted person about smiling, even behind the mask. 7/5/20 KINDNESS

Mysterious Mask

I was standing there holding my make-shift mask, a pillow case that I’d cut up…a last minute resort to enter the store. I was holding it to my mouth and nose while maneuvering my wallet with one hand. Though difficult, I quickly became impressed at my developing one hand skills. When suddenly a mask landed in front of me, packaged and hygienic. Literally, out of thin air. By the time I looked up, the deliverer was gone. I smiled behind my pillow case mask and basked in joy, knowing someone saw me in my silly situation, and responded by doing something to help me out…in a silly way. Stop the “spread” and spread empathy instead. 7/3/20 EMPATHY

Passport Office…at home.

Travelers be aware: passport offices are currently closed. I called the passport office today about an expired passport that replaced a passport I thought I lost, but found ands it’s valid till 2023. So of course I’m wondering, can I use my original passport in lieu of offices being closed? The gold I found today was partially of my own making and it involved empathy. I spoke with a woman who repeated a “rehearsed statement” about the offices being closed and passports not being issued. I thanked her and shared my passport situation. We ended up finding our way to laughter. She then proceeded to share how angry people have been and the challenge it is doing her work from home. I asked her about the challenges she’s facing, and she shared how the hostility from callers does affect her home life. After hearing this, I expressed a sincere hope that my call was a bright spot in her work day. She said it was and the call ended on a mutually happy note. I feel civility plays a role here too. The importance of assuming the best and seeking for understanding, especially when there are roadblocks to what you want. And, in case you are wondering, I cannot use my original passport and I’m hoping passport offices will open soon. For her and for me. EMPATHY/CIVILITY 6/23/20

Sedona Scavenger Hunt

Each list was lengthy and many of the items would be hard to find, but we were all determined to win. The winner of the Sedona scavenger hunt would receive a token of gratitude from each of the competitors. My list of 15 items included, a bottle cap necklace, a 10 year-old can of food and a 90’s gum ball machine. Sedona was bustling and packed with visitors. As I began my search I quickly realized: To find each of the items, I would need the help of others. I began asking storekeepers and shoppers for help finding items. In fact, I asked a young girl chewing gum to state, “I was born in the 90’s, I’m chewing gum, so I’m a 90’s bubble gum machine.” As I searched, I pondered how much help I was needing to succeed, I started thinking about the Golden Rule and how important it is to help those around me. That’s when I truly win. Then it started, like a ripple effect, a shop keeper needed help finding a customer who left without paying, a lone guitarist asked if I would sit and sing, a herbalist wanted to share about her creations and I ended up actually buying the bottle cap necklace (for another competitor). Although I was in a hurry, I decided to pause and return kindness for kindness. And miraculously, I still won. 6/8/20 KINDNESS