September 21, 1995

Making Evaluation

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There are very few things in life that add value to any and every situation. Ordinarily, something that benefits you in one situation might hurt you elsewhere. For instance, gasoline is great for your car, but not so great during a house fire. A winter coat is great during a heavy snow, but useless on the fourth of July.

You might argue that money always helps any situation. But would it help you buy something on the moon? I think not. Few things in life have universal value.

Some friends of mine started a new company recently to identify and place new products into mass retail. One of the founders joined me in taking our sons on a father/son camp. This man always loves to show off the latest breakthrough invention his company is working on, The weekend camp was the perfect stage to test this universal one-size-fits-all headgear called a Zub. This headgear works as a do rag, bandana, headband, face mask, and many other things. All told their marketing campaign shows 69 different usages. How can it be so versatile? Simple-One size fits all.

So one night our whole cabin, dads and sons alike, donned a Zub. We were a walking advertisement for this guy. There were old heads and young heads, small heads and large heads. Long thin heads, round heads, and honestly one guy even had a square blockhead. We had every kind of head imaginable. The truly amazing thing was that the Zub fit every head. This little piece of cloth was truly amazing.

The Golden Rule is definitely a one size fits all principle for life. In the last chapter we explored the notion that it can be used by everyone with everyone. In this chapter we want develop the idea that the Golden Rule can be used in everything. In other words its one size fits all elasticity gives us the freedom to put it to use all the time.

1. Why is the Golden Rule helpful in all situations?

2. Can you think of a situation where the Golden Rule would not be beneficial? Couldn’t think of one? That’s the point. The Golden Rule benefits every situation—always

Which of the following best describes your approach to ethics?

● I am always ethical.
● I am mostly ethical.
● I am somewhat ethical.
● I am seldom ethical.
● I am never ethical.

Which of the following do you find easy and which are hard to apply the Power of One rule?

Easy Difficult

1. Complicated situations
2. Simple situations.
3. Big things
4. Small things
5. Public matters
6. Private matters.
7. When the path is clear
8. When the path is cloudy
9. Painful things
10. Pain-free things
11. Money items
12. Relationships
13. Time concerns
14. Everything.

Some of us are more of a situational ethicist than we might first think. Our standard of good, right, and true varies from situation to situation. But having an ethic that fits every situation makes life easier—and keeps you out of trouble.

My daughter announced to me on the way to school one day that she earned a 100 percent grade on the driving test. In front of a car full of her peers I said, “That is so good to hear. As a matter of fact, that’s fantastic.” Especially because she had failed the test the first time.

I then asked her whether I could expect her to never get a ticket, never get into a wreck, and never have any car trouble. The car got strangely silent. Then she finally muttered out, “No, I can’t promise that.”

My daughter explained that making a good score on the test didn’t guarantee no tickets, no wreck, and certainly no immunity from car problems. I laughed and used that as a great teaching moment with my girl and her buddies. Knowing the right answer and doing the right thing aren’t the same thing. But certainly knowing the right answer helps.

We have committed the Golden Rule to memory; let us now commit it to life.–Edwin Markham

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