Did you know that there are at least 24 versions of the Golden Rule? These 24 versions come from spiritual and philosophical systems of thought across the world. The underlying principle of the Golden Rule is called “The Ethic of Reciprocity.” Synonyms for reciprocity include: back-and-forth, collaborative, interactive, interrelated, intertwined, interwoven, mutual and interdependent. Some would use the words karma or payback.
I wrote just a few weeks ago about how to talk to children in the wake of senseless violence. Now, senseless violence and tragedy are very real and close to home, here in Milwaukee. I am thinking again about the role parents, and all adults who care for and interact with children, have in to talking children about this event and the model that they set.
Sometimes, in our very real concerns for our children and loved ones, we feel powerless against incidences like the shooting in Oak Creek, at the movie theater in Aurora, Columbine…and as you know the list goes on. We know it is impossible to stop every single act of random and senseless violence. But, I do believe with every fiber of my being that we do have great power and influence on how our world matures by what we teach our children. I think the integrity of our words and actions have a powerful impact on our children and the kind of people they will become…ultimately the kind of world we inhabit.
Some questions to ask ourselves. Do we teach our children:
- about non-violence and yet, play games that objectify and glorify violence?
- that stealing is wrong, but bring home “freebies” from work?
- to play fairly, then yell “kill ‘em” at sports events?
- to tell the truth, but then tell little white lies?
- to accept people, then describe others with words like “those or those people”?
Every time our words match our action (or don’t) we teach our children something about the Ethics of Reciprocity/The Golden Rule; about the back-and-forth of daily life; about accepting the dignity of every human being; about relationship. What we do has great power in the lives of the children around us and what kind of people they will become. I believe that in the power of honest, caring, maturing relationships we do have the power to change the world…slowly, one little implementation of the Golden Rule at a time.
I will look forward to you thoughts.
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