April 4 through 9 is Golden Rule Week, inspired by a 2005 awareness exhibit entitled A Blessing to One Another: Pope John Paul II and the Jewish People.
This award winning exhibit still tours the country spreading a message of peace and reciprocity. The images feature Pope John Paul II visiting people around the world, and the message of the Golden Rule from different religious texts.
The Golden Rule, as our parents hopefully taught us, reads, “Treat others the way you’d like to be treated,” and this is how some religions express it:
Christianity • Luke 6:31
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Judaism • Talmud Shabbat 31a
What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow man.
Islam • An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith, 13
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
Surprisingly, most religions share the Golden Rule as a core belief which unfortunately has been relegated to mere words and no action. It is rare to find acceptance, equality and forgiveness between members of different religions.
Read Related: For Kids, Character Building Begins at Home
Although I understood it mentally, it wasn’t until I spoke to a friend who is a Quaker that I became aware of the importance of the Golden Rule. I had heard it countless times before but, through conversation with this individual, it became clear to me that if there were only one universal rule—the Golden Rule—would suffice for societies to respectfully coexist. I am not religious but I believe in the potential for people to be and do good. I love that the focal point of this rule is to enjoy positive and healthy relationships while abiding by a simple moral code: when in doubt, ask yourself: How would I like to be treated in this situation?
TRAITS THE GOLDEN RULE STANDS FOR
- Empathy: We want others to treat us kindly and be aware of the challenges we may be facing so, when practicing the Golden Rule, we’re more empathetic towards others as well.
- Understanding: We want to be heard and for others to understand our point of view and the obstacles we’ve overcome. When we practice the Golden Rule, we strive to understand others.
- Acceptance: Nobody likes to be judged, so why are we so quick to judge others? The Golden Rule prevents us from doing that.
MODELING THE GOLDEN RULE FOR OUR KIDS
We can’t change the war-filled world in which we live, but we can impact future generations if we instill the Golden Rule in our children by modeling it through our actions. If our children witness their parents showing kindness, patience, consideration and forgiveness on a consistent basis, and treating others as they wish to be treated, then being respectful, conscientious, and empathetic will come naturally to them.
So let’s try and use Golden Rule week to remind ourselves of the importance of treating others the way we would like to be treated. Are you in?