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Tommy Slone
Ethic of Reciprocity

I’m gonna be honest: I don’t actively believe in many things, really. My mind meanders too often; I don’t subscribe to too many ideologies for too long. I’ve always held onto a pretty simple, timeless philosophy, though: do unto others as you would have them do unto you. The “Golden Rule.” The ethic of reciprocity, they call it. Everyone knows it but few bother with it.

A little kindness can get you a long way in this world. Life is both a blessing and a burden–it’s an ongoing struggle for everyone who takes part. Sometimes a little common decency is all a person needs to feel better about his entire situation. I believe in being nice to people because I remember so many incidents when people were, shall we say, less-than-angelic, to me. I remember how those times made me feel, and I’ve never been keen to make someone else go through that. It seems so pointless. In fact, I believe in doing just the opposite. I like to make people feel good about life. No matter who they are–with the likely exception of, say, someone who would just punch me for trying–I like to make things better for people, if I can. Here’s an example: I was searching for a school friend on MySpace a few years ago. I found someone else–same first name, same town, and a bizarrely similar face –and, thinking she was the kid I knew, I went to her profile. It wasn’t who I thought but that stopped mattering to me the moment I noticed how sad she came across in her profile updates. Even though she didn’t know me, I added her–again, I like being nice to people!–and began talking to her about her problems. We ultimately became great friends. A few months later, I found that that simple gesture of mine, extending a hand of friendship to somebody who seemed a bit down on her luck, had really helped her out. She’d been so depressed that she was seriously considering suicide but having someone to listen–such a little thing that most of us take for granted in our lives – had not only stopped her from doing it but also kept her from wanting to altogether. Like I said: a little kindness goes a long way. You never know what impact your words or actions may have on those around you. After I realized that and began to embrace it as a personal philosophy, I’ve been more content with life. I believe in treating people with as much respect as you would like to receive in turn because nobody deserves anything less than that.
Tommy Slone is a first-year BSCTC student.

 

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