My father taught me many things, but at the top of the list he taught me to treat people with respect...to live the Golden Rule. "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise," as in Luke 6:31. Sometimes the best examples are lived.
I remember one particular instance of him teaching this "life lesson" as if it were yesterday. Dad was always involved in politics and knew many influential people in town. He never ran for office but he was very active in civic affairs. They would stop him if they saw him out and talk for what seemed hours on end as I stood there.
This particular day we stopped at the store, and this fellow came up dressed in tattered clothes. His hair was unkempt, not to mention the scraggly beard on his face. I thought,"What a character this guy must be!" Strangely my father recognized him. "Surely, this must be somebody Dad knows from ministering," was my conclusion, since he was after all an elder in the church. Dad greeted him as if he were the most important person he ever met. He gave a firm handshake and proceeded to talk to him about his son who had been in a car accident the month before. He empathized, he asked questions, he listened, and he listened some more. I kept looking at the clock, and when the man finally left, I asked,"Dad, why did you spend so much time with him? He's nobody important." Dad then looked me, then shook his head,"Son, let's talk."
He said,"If you don't remember anything else I tell you, remember this. Treat others the way you would want to be treated." He said,"I know this isn't the first time you have heard it, but I want you to truly understand it, because if you had understood, you never would have said what you said." We sat there on that bench in front of the store and talked about the deeper meaning of the Golden Rule. To me, I shall never find in my lifetime, a truer example of the Living Golden Rule than he in my life.
I recently heard someone say, "If you teach your child the Golden Rule, you will have left them an estate of incalculable value." Truer words were never spoken.