Friday, September 21, 2007

The Golden Rule

So, I'm not trying to negate anything Jesus said because I really do believe He's God and that what He said is as true as it gets.

But I'm just going to throw out there that some things, when viewed from a limited human viewpoint, don't always seem to work out quite like we might think from the way He stated them. Like that whole "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" thing? Doesn't always turn out so well.

Here's an example.

While my parents were here, one of the supermarkets had a two-for-one sale on Friendly's ice cream. Not being one to pass up a sale--or ice cream--my father bought us two boxes. Of ice cream with peanut butter in it. Clearly the makers of Friendly's ice cream are on my dad's wavelength, if they have two different peanut-butter-laden ice creams. My dad loves peanut butter, and ice cream, and chocolate, so clearly it was an act of love on his part (though he was also sure to benefit in some way) for him two buy these two decadent flavours. But see, my mom's not as keen on peanut butter in her ice cream as he is. And me? Well, I'm in a phase of not even liking peanut butter very much. So what was a very well-intentioned purchase turned into something of a family joke, and my parents ended up palming off one of the boxes on Uncle Ted and Cousin Paul.

So what to do? Because sometimes you just don't know things about people. Even though our family is pretty close, there are still things we don't even know about each other. Grandma Madeira used to make lemon meringue pie for my parents quite a lot because she thought they loved it, when really it's about their least favourite pie of all. (I let her make it for me anytime, though, because I really do love lemon.)

And then what about the times you do know things about people, but what you would have them do unto you is different than what they would have you do unto them? Like, for example, Until-Further-Notice Peter's birthday is in a couple of weeks, and he professedly hates surprises. (I bring this up in the blog so as to mitigate the surprise factor a little.) But me? I love them. Not the scary kind, or the make-you-feel-like-a-total-idiot kind, but there are lots of really great surprises that don't make you fear for your life or feel like the entire world is smarter than you. I love being surprised and I love surprising other people. So, what I would have others (by which in this case I mean my friends) do unto me is, say, blindfold me and take me to Boston to picnic on a swan boat or something unusual and unexpected like that. But I don't think UFN Peter would be all that into whatever the guy-equivalent of that is.

So how do you follow the Golden Rule then, huh?


Annelise said...

For those for whom surprises are scary things it's best to plan a surprise within a planned context, i.e. have a plan to go out to dinner, but the location be a surprise.

jasdye said...

yeah, see, this would be a perfect example of why even the most literal-minded of Christian fundamentalists aren't really all that literal.

in treating others the way we would want to be treated, we would need to first listen and understand what it is that they like or dislike, what it is that gets them going or frightens them. we need to be sensitive to others felt and real needs, just as we would desire that others are sensitive to our needs.

this has been your pseudo-sermonizing for the week.

Dad said...

Okay, so maybe I wasn't being entirely altuistic in bringing home two half-gallons of really outstanding ice cream (that just happened to have peanut butter in them). But when it's both available AND on sale, how can anyone possibly resist a flavor like "Hunka-Chunka PB Fudge" -- that actually tastes as good as it sounds. I happen to know that you managed to ingest (dare I say "enjoy"?) more than one serving of said flavor, Jenn. I don't expect you to admit that "Father Knew Best," but at least now you know what to get me for Christmas -- if it is still in the supermarkets in December (which it won't be). Perhaps in some case we need to paraphrase the biblical admonition: "Do to others as they would like to do unto you." Or something like that.

dave grosser said...

Dude, dad, if I were in town, you would so not have had to palm off that extra box of ice cream. I totally feel you, man, and I would have been right there by your side, ready to partake in the blessedness with you. I'm not selfish like those other family members, unwilling to share your joy and stuff.

Jenn said...

Mom--yeah, I was thinking that might work.

Jasdye--uh huh! I agree. You put it well, though. I think I was having trouble untangling some of that.

Dad--I'll admit that "Father Knew Something That Worked Out Pretty Well." How's that? ;)

Dave--ouch. ;) Just think--more for him! Well, except for getting rid of the extra box . . .