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Golden and platinum rules good to live by

Although this column generally shares ideas from senior citizens and various experts on positive aging, these ideas come from my daughter Eve — out of the mouths of babes, as the saying goes.

The email that she forwarded to me began with “Executives are expected to be leaders.” That is important to her in her management job and I think valuable to all of us, even if we don’t call ourselves executives. Information source is A.J. Schuler, a leadership expert and author of “How to Lead by Example: Ten Rules for Working and Living.” He has a two-pronged approach that perhaps all of us could use.

Schuler recommends following the Golden Rule — “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Almost everyone, even children, knows that rule. We should treat others in the way we would like to be treated. Then Emily Post added more rules to form the Platinum Rule. That rule tells us to treat others “in the way they would like to be treated.” I think the usefulness of the Platinum Rule can vary with the ages of the people involved.

Now as a resident of a senior living facility I am more aware of how I and others like me would like to be treated. Of course as a child, I learned the Golden Rule and lots of dos and don’ts. I learned table manners like not talking with your mouth full and putting your napkin on the table rather than tucked in your pants after dinner.

It seems to me that those rules are still valid, but perhaps some are old fashioned. No longer is it considered bad manners for a man to wear a hat in the house or for someone to start a conversation with someone to whom they have not been introduced. For me starting a conversation without an introduction is a current bright spot in my life.

Just before Christmas, a nice-looking woman came to my door, introduced herself and handed me a beautiful potted plant and a message. After apologizing for breaking one of the old etiquette rules about not speaking to someone unless you’ve been introduced she asked that I please read the message in the envelope she handed me. It explained that she and her husband loved being renters in my Lake Oswego house and would like to buy it! This sale is in progress, and I hate to think what would have happened without her breaking one of those outdated rules.

Schuler tells us that following both the Golden Rule and the Platinum Rule leads to greater respect, trust and belief from the people who know you. I’m not sure if that works, but I do know that we have to consider the age and background of the people we are talking to, or if true to rules of grammar, people with whom we’re talking.

Stories for Positive Aging is a semi-monthly column on senior issues written by Lake Oswego resident Ardis Stevenson, author of “Facing Age, Finding Answers” and “Dusty’s War.” She can be reached by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by regular mail at 17440 Holy Names Drive, Lake Oswego, OR 97034.



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