01/29/2015 04:50 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Learning From My Ruler


Robert Fulgham once wrote a wonderful book, Everything I Ever Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten... I think for me it was in grade school... and it was on this ruler, passed out to all children in schools throughout the state by the Coca-Cola Bottling Company.

I ran across one the other day, cleaning some things out at my mom's house during her recent move. On the other side of this ruler is a lesson in getting along... in understanding, in knowing how we should conduct ourselves. Just below all the numbers, all the hash marks was the Golden Rule: Do Unto Others As You Would Have Them Do Unto You.

It's interesting when you dissect it down and look at it from the end first. You. Rather than put it into You being the bigger person, You becomes the one that is Done Upon. And as the one who is Done Upon, it makes you look at things a little differently... rather than being the magnanimous one who is doing it, it makes you look and see how others actions affect You... and when you do that, suddenly the real meaning becomes pretty clear. If You don't want it done unto You, then don't do it to others.

The nice thing is that this cuts across all lines... no matter what your religion, what your color, what your life is like, who You love.... You have to decide how it would feel to have it being done unto You.

Going back, the real lesson here is empathy. And if we can figure that part out, as we were taught by a simple elementary school tool, then we have the only thing we need to know... and I learned that in grade school... with a simple ruler.