At the very core of our being, we all long for inner peace and contentment. We seek to be surrounded by positivity, kindness, and warmth. Yet, in the pursuit of our own happiness, we often forget that we can achieve it by extending the same to others. The age-old adage “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”the Golden Rule – holds immense significance in our lives, not just as a moral principle, but also as a path to mental and spiritual wellbeing.

When we actively engage in acts of kindness, empathy, and selflessness, we not only brighten the lives of others but also nourish our own souls. The act of giving, without any expectations of receiving, fills us with a sense of purpose and contentment that is hard to match. It elevates our spirits, uplifts our mood, and instills a sense of peace within us.

In doing for others what we would want for ourselves, we not only create a ripple effect of positivity and kindness in the world but also cultivate a deep sense of gratitude and self-awareness within ourselves. It reminds us of the interconnectedness of all beings, and how our actions can impact others in ways beyond our understanding.

In essence, the Golden Rule is not just a guide for moral conduct, but a gateway to inner peace and wellbeing. By embodying it in our lives, we create a harmonious balance between our physical, mental, and spiritual selves, paving the way for a life of purpose, fulfillment, and joy.

Dr Jean Augustine. (Photograph by Kwaku Kufuor)

One person who reminds us of how best to lead a life based on the Golden Rule is The Hon. Dr. Jean Augustine. Throughout her remarkable career as an educator, politician, and advocate for social justice, Dr. Augustine has embodied the principles of compassion, empathy, and service that underlie the Golden Rule. Born in St. George’s, Grenada, she faced adversity early on after losing her father. Nevertheless, with the support of her wise grandmother, she excelled academically, becoming a qualified teacher before immigrating to Canada in 1960 through the Canada-Caribbean Domestic Program.

Dr. Augustine’s career was marked by an unwavering commitment to social causes. She worked as an elementary school teacher and principal, where she helped shape the lives of countless young students while also actively engaging in grassroots efforts within the community. Her involvement on boards such as York University, The Hospital for Sick Children, the Stephen Lewis Foundation, and Harbourfront Corporation further expanded her contribution.

In 1993, Dr. Augustine made history as the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to Canada’s House of Commons as the Member of Parliament from the Greater Toronto Area constituency of Etobicoke-Lakeshore. Over her four consecutive terms in office, her work included serving as Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister, Minister of Multiculturalism and the Status of Women, Chair of the Foreign Affairs and International Trade committee, Chair of the Human Rights Committee, and three-time Chair of the National Women’s Caucus.

The scribe photographed with The Hon. Dr. Jean Augustine

Dr. Augustine’s notable achievements included securing unanimous legislative support to pass a historic motion designating February as Black History Month in Canada, passing legislation to protect disadvantaged low-income individuals including single mothers raising children, and securing unanimous legislative support to pass a landmark motion to erect the only statue featuring women on Parliament Hill, the Famous Five Monument. She also extensively traveled and engaged in countries around the world to improve the human condition.

Dr. Augustine’s philanthropic efforts extended beyond her political career. She donated her archival and parliamentary materials to York University’s Faculty of Education, leading to the launch of the Jean Augustine Chair in Education, Community and Diaspora in 2008. Later, she was appointed as the first-ever Fairness Commissioner for the Province of Ontario, a role in which she set new regulatory standards for clarity, openness, and streamlined access to employment conditions for foreign trained professionals until her retirement in 2015.

Today, Dr. Augustine’s story of unwavering dedication to service has become a source of inspiration for many. Her life and work have been captured in a documentary film called “Steadfast: The Messenger and The Message,” which is presented at various international forums, including the prestigious Marche du Film at the Cannes Film Festival. This film showcases the remarkable journey of a woman who overcame countless obstacles to become a beacon of hope and an example of resilience for generations to come.

In today’s fast-paced and materialistic world, it’s easy to get lost in the daily grind and lose sight of what really matters. Many of us find ourselves trapped in unfulfilling jobs, chasing after the latest gadgets or fashion trends, or simply going through the motions of life without any real purpose or direction. But it is through remarkable stories such as these, that we learn valuable lessons about how to lead a life of purpose.