The Savior gave some of his most beautiful teachings in the Book of Mormon during His post-resurrection visit to the people in the land of Bountiful, as recorded in 3 Nephi 11-28. Recently, I have been pondering one of the Savior’s most profound teachings, known as the Golden Rule: “all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them” (3 Nephi 14:12). As a young teenager, I observed my father practice this “Golden Rule” in a way that touched my heart then and continues to do so now.
My father is a very frugal and thrifty person. He would rarely pay full price for something, let alone pay more than something was worth. When I was about fourteen years old, Dad lost his job and for about a year was unemployed or underemployed. It was difficult both financially and emotionally for my family, but it took the worse toll on my father. He had been accustomed to providing a fairly comfortable living for our family, and I could tell that he felt ashamed and degraded because of his employment situation. However, our family survived and my father eventually found sufficient employment to sustain our family.
Some time after my father resumed full employment, he came home from work and told us that a person would be coming to the house later that evening to cut his hair. My father had gone to the same barbershop for years, and had developed a cordial relationship with the barbers there. Dad had met one of these men at a store and learned that he had lost his job at the barbershop. Wanting to give him some work, my father invited him to our home to cut his hair.
The barber kept the appointment and cut my father’s hair in our kitchen. He seemed friendly and grateful to be there. Afterwards, I saw my father pay the barber several more dollars than he would customarily pay for a haircut. Knowing my father’s frugal habits, I was rather surprised. After the barber left, I asked my dad why he had paid so much for the haircut. I suppose that I felt that my father was doing the unemployed barber a service by allowing him to cut his hair, and that the barber should have been satisfied with a standard fee. Looking a little uncomfortable at the attention his act had gained, he simply told me, “I know how he feels. I know what it is like to be out of work.”
His reply touched me, and I realized that my father’s actions were more than simply wanting to do a good deed to someone who was needy. By inviting this barber to our home and paying him generously, my father was expressing his love and empathy to a fellow brother in a way that upheld both men’s dignity.
As I have thought about that lesson over the years, I have learned that the Golden Rule is about more than simply right behavior—the Golden Rule is also about our hearts. We live the Golden Rule not only by acting how we think others should act towards us, but also by feeling toward others how we would want others to feel toward us.
I am grateful that my father taught me that lesson in his own understated way. I hope that I can follow his good example by living the Golden Rule both by my actions and by my feelings.