To build great relationships treat people the way you want them to treat you

Recently, I took my daughter Elizabeth out to a restaurant for lunch. The waitress, whose job it was to take care of people, made us feel that we were really inconveniencing her. She was grumpy, negative, and unhelpful. All of her customers were aware of the fact that she was having a bad day. Halfway through our experience I tried to change this woman’s negative attitude. Pulling out a $10 bill, I said, “Could you do me a favor? I’d like some change for this $10 bill because I want to give you a good tip today.” She looked at me, did a double take, and then ran to the cash register. After changing the money, she spent the next fifteen minutes hovering over us. I thanked her for her service, told her how important and helpful she was, and left a good tip.

Description: To build great relationships treat people the way you want them to treat you

To build great relationships treat people the way you want them to treat you

As we left, Elizabeth said, “Daddy, did you see how that lady changed?”

Seizing this golden opportunity, I said, “Elizabeth, if you want people to act right toward you, you act right toward them. And many times you’ll change them.”

Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ summed up a series of profound thoughts “on human conduct by saying, “therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you” [Malt. 7:12].

In this brief command, Christ taught us a couple of things about developing relationships with others. We need to decide how we want to be treated. Then we need to begin treating others in that manner.

Here are five ways we all want others to treat us. There’s not a person reading this who doesn’t need, like, or respond to these qualities in others.

You want others to encourage you

There is no better exercise for strengthening the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. Think about it; most of your best friends are those who encourage you. You don’t have many sttrong relationships with people who put you down. You avoid these people and seek out those who believe in you and lift you up.

Description: You avoid these people and seek out those who believe in you and lift you up.

You avoid these people and seek out those who believe in you and lift you up.

The story of Eugene Lang gives us an ultimate example of encouragement. Entrepreneur Lang was Success magazine’s “Successful Man of the Year” in 1986. The following is a part of a feature article about Lange’s encouragement of others:

A gray-haired man stands in the center of the auditorium stage – a distinguished, paternal presence sporting a fine wool suit and the barest trace of a moustache. He scans the sunlit room, with its peeling paint and frayed draperies, but his gaze lingers on the people.

They are Black and Hispanic men and women who fill most of the seats in the auditorium. Though some do not speak English, their attention is fixed on the man on the podium. But his speech is not aimed at them. He has returned to this place where he once was a student to address the 61 graders, dressed in blue caps and gowns, who are seated in the front rows.

Description: Forget about yourself to help others.

Forget about yourself to help others.

“This is your first graduation – just the perfect time to dream,” ha says. “Dream of what you want to be, the kind of life you wish to build. And believe in that dream. Be prepared to work for it. Always remember, each dream is important because it is your dream, it is your future. And it is worth working for.”

“You must study,” he continues. “You must learn. You must attend junior high school, high school, and then college. You can go to college. You must go to college. Stay in school and I’ll …” The speaker pauses, and then, as if suddenly inspired, he blurts out: “I will give each of you a college scholarship.”

For a second there is silence, and then a wave of emotion rolls over the crowd. All the people in the auditorium are on their feet, jumping and running, cheering and waving and hugging one another. Parents rush down the aisles to their children. “What did he say?” one mother calls out in Spanish.

“It’s money! Money for college!” her daughter yells back with delight, collapsing into her parents’ arms.

The place was an elementary school in a poverty-stricken, drug-ridden, despair-plagued Harlem neighborhood. The speaker was multimillionaire entrepreneur Eugene Lang, who 53 years earlier had graduated from that very school.

The date was June 25, 1981, and the big question was whether the warm and ever-confident Lang, a man who believes that “each individual soul is of infinite worth and infinite dignity,” would fulfill his promise.

Well, he did and he still is. Of 61 graduates, 54 stayed in contact with Lang, and 90 percent of those achieved a high school diploma or equivalent, and 60 percent went on to higher education. You have to understand, at that time, in that community, the high school drop-out rate was 90 per cent.

People need to be encouraged. Eugene Lang believed in these kids and it made all the difference in how they lived the rest of their lives.

The happiest people are those who have invested their time in others. The unhappiest people are those who wonder how the world is going to make them happy. Karl Menninger, the great psychiatrist, was asked what a lonely, unhappy person should do. He said, “Lock the door behind you, go across the street, find someone who is hurting, and help them.” Forget about yourself to help others.

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