We all know the Golden Rule:  Do to others what you would have them do to you. (Matthew 7:12)  It sounds good and is a nice starting point when caring for others.  However, sometimes the Golden Rule has a problem.  What if what you are doing for someone isn’t what they want done?  You’d like it done to you, but they don’t.

For example:  A mother asks her 4 year old son, “I am planning a birthday party for your sister. What kind of party should we have?”  The little boy responds, “Her party should be about fire trucks and bulldozers.”  The little boy is following the golden rule.  If it was his party, he would want the theme to be fire trucks.  However, that would not be what his 9 year old sister would want.

When caring for someone, we need to consider The Platinum Rule:  Do unto others as they would like done unto them.  How do we know what a person wants or needs?  Caregivers can say to the suffering person, “Please tell me what I can do to make things easier for you—I really want to help.”

Caregivers, practice the Platinum Rule.  When you encounter a suffering friend, say, “I really want to help you.  Please tell me what I can do to make things easier for you.”

And to all of you who are going through a rough time, when a friend asks you, “What may I do for you?”  Please tell them!

The Platinum Rule works wonderfully if the caregiver asks, “What may I do for you?” and the suffering person tells them what he or she needs or wants.  Practice the Platinum Rule.

To also discover what a suffering friend may want or need, click on the link Multiple Choice Caregiving.


Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.