Teaching Your Kids to Follow the Golden Rule

When dealing with people, there is a very basic tenet that says you should treat other people in a manner that reflects how you would like to be treated. This is commonly referred to as The Golden Rule and most Westerners will know what you mean if you merely utter three simple words Do Unto Others. The term Golden Rule was actually coined somewhere in the 1600’s in England. The concept behind the term goes back long before that and can be found in countries around the world and in every religion. This is perhaps one of the most universal ideas that a human being may hold dear. As such, it is important to teach your children what it means to live in accordance with the concept, no matter what the religious context or country of origin. The Golden Rule is also called the Ethic of Reciprocity because it describes a relationship between two people where each is treated equally. Whether you are a Humanist or Existentialist, whether you follow the teachings of Judaism, Buddha, Islam, or Christ, you will find a teaching that follows this code of ethics. In practice, the reciprocal relationship may be between two or more individuals, between groups, or even between an individual and a group. This tenet has been used in many cultures as a way to resolve conflict. At the most basic level, it demands that you expect nothing more than what you would grant to another and that you cannot expect to be treated preferentially. Fortunately, everyone has a tool that makes teaching this important lesson quite simple. It is called your Internal Guidance System (IGS). It helps you to know what the right course of action is and will help both you and your children to know if you’re acting in accordance with this principle or not, based on how something feels. It can be easy for kids to become swept up in whatever their group of friends is doing. You’ve probably heard your kids say something to the effect of, “But everybody’s doing it! Unfortunately, you’ve also probably heard similar remarks coming out of the mouths of adults and business leaders. Just because other people are doing something doesn’t make the action right, but it can be a strong pull. If you don’t stop to feel out your actions, you can go along with the crowd and not live your highest path. You have to learn how to discern between the pull of wanting to be part of a group and acting in accordance with the Golden Rule. This is true for your kids on the playground as well as for you in your business dealings. Teaching your kids to follow the Golden Rule, no matter what you want to call it, is one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of their lives. As more and more children learn to check in with their IGS to help guide their decisions, you’ll see adults and businesses follow the same ethic of reciprocity in the future.   Please feel free to comment. © 2014.  Sharon Ballantine.  All Rights Reserved.

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