Giving Others a "Place to Be"—practicing the Golden Rule

By Sarah Bell

Often, we want to help others, but we're not sure how. Other times, we want to volunteer for an activity, but it doesn't fit into our busy schedules. But there are ways to be helpful just by living a loving life, by practicing the Golden Rule.

Sarah Bell shares what she has learned about touching the lives of others. She was a school and public librarian for many years. During that time, she had many opportunities to help other people.


One story I have to share is of a group of boys and one girl who liked to play Dungeons and Dragons. They were all bright, but they didn't really fit in with the rest of the crowd. So, about once a month, I provided a place for them in the library to play all night long so their parents could be assured that they were fine. They turned out to be such wonderful contributors to society. One of them is a writer on NPR. Another writes and directs plays. And another is one of the founding artists of the Magic cards game, which is hugely popular.

I gave them a place to be—a place of safety and uniqueness. The curious thing about living a life based on the Golden Rule is that you touch people in ways that you may not even know until later. That's why, to me, it's important to be alert all the time. We want to practice our Christianity all the time. And Christianity is about serving, about putting God first, about loving others, about treating them the way you would want to be treated.

Sometimes it's obvious that kids are struggling, and then you do your utmost to help. There was a freshman girl who had lost her mother a year or two prior. She was a little girl with a broken heart. And I loved her. She loved to write stories, so the two of us would talk and share stories. She is still living in Sitka, so I had her on my radio show. It was wonderful.

But other times, you don't know what it is that makes a difference. You have no idea the need you might be fulfilling for someone else. It's just things you do in an unconscious fashion. I will never forget at graduation time, a student came to me with a plate of hand-dipped chocolates. I said, "These are just beautiful, but why?" He responded, "Well, you were just so kind to me." And I did love him, but I didn't feel that I had done anything special.

Practicing the Golden Rule as you live your life has a definite impact on others.

Read more about Sarah and how she practices the Golden Rule, reaching out to the community.