Karma. I first learned about it a long time ago when I was in college from a co-worker who, when I told her I had been let go from my job after refusing my boss’s inappropriate sexual advances said of him, “What goes around, comes around.” I thought those words were the most brilliant thing I’d ever heard, and they have been my personal motto ever since.
My religious education was not very thorough, so I had never paid much attention to the biblical equivalent, otherwise known as The Golden Rule – “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I had just a vague idea of what karma meant, but I knew that there was an essential and genuine truth to what my friend had said – and it has been proven to me time and time again.
We all know how it works. If you do something good, something good will come back to you. By being a good friend and expressing concern about a problem or genuine happiness for someone else’s success, you are not only doing good for your friend, but you are giving yourself a moment of goodness, also. Conversely, doing something bad will bring bad things to your life. Everyone develops their own moral code, but as a society most of us follow common sense rules to keep the majority of us from breaking laws or cheating on our spouses.
Karma is why you don’t take the tip left lying on the table at the restaurant. It’s why you don’t poison the neighbor’s dog that barks incessantly. It’s why you return the wallet. It’s why you do a favor when asked. It’s why, as you mature and grow, you refrain from saying half of the things you think. Most of us know the difference between good and bad in our core, and that keeps us from doing the horrible things we may feel the urge to do every so often, whether out of anger or fear. Karma also spurs us to do good things for each other, too. It just feels right to go out of your way to make someone else’s day a little better every once in a while. And when Karma comes back to you – whether good or bad – you know it. You just know it in your gut.
It’s not easy to teach this concept to children – it must be experienced for it to mean much of anything. I started telling my kids about my personal motto when they were very young, long before they understood what I meant – and I would point out an example of karma, both good and bad, whenever we encountered it. They began to see it too and would come to me with their personal stories of karma, both their own and that of others they knew. I am pleased and proud to say that my children – now young adults – have both embraced this concept wholeheartedly, and appear to have integrated this motto into their lives, just as I did.