By Joey and Carla Link
July 13, 2022
Have you ever told your kids to treat others as they want to be treated? Perhaps we should ask, “How many times over the years have you told your kids to treat others the way they want to be treated?! Do you know this phrase has a title to it? It is called “The Golden Rule”.
So why is this phrase called “The Golden Rule”? Some people think it means, “He who has the gold makes all the rules”, but the “Golden Rule” really comes from Matthew 7:12 which says
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.”
Interesting how this little “rule” sums up the entire Old Testament! Something we should all teach our kids. There is a funny story Carla often tells in our conferences about a time she opened our kitchen cabinet that holds the plastic containers and everything fell out on the floor. Finding out from the older siblings it was the chore of our youngest 4 yr. old daughter, she asked her if that was the way the plastics were supposed to be put away. She said she didn’t know since nobody had shown her how to stack them. Apparently, her sister had passed the job on to her without her mother’s knowledge or approval. It is a funny story to us but it is a common experience in every household. It’s so easy to have taught the oldest child how to do something, expecting the information is passed on to the next child and the next child. While the chore may have been passed on, rarely is WHY we do something a particular way passed on with it.
It is the “why” that motivates us to use our brains to get us to do what we are supposed to do. Otherwise, our feelings determine what we do and they lack sustainability to do the right thing over what our kids are being tempted to do when they know they shouldn’t.
If your kids are driven by their feelings, treating others, especially their siblings as they themselves want to be treated will fly out the window the instant they get mad or upset with them. If they are driven by “Why” they should treat others as they treat themselves, they will do so.
So, why should your kids (and yourself) treat others as you want them to treat you? All the laws God gave to Israel could be summarized in two commands: love God above all else, and love your neighbor as you love yourself. (Mark 10:31-32) If we do those two things, we don’t need the other laws. We will automatically obey them as part of loving God and loving others.
Treating others as we want to be treated means we must be willing to set aside our own desires and rights in order to love and therefore serve those in our lives. When our focus is on treating others as Jesus would, we don’t need lots of laws telling us what to do or not to do. A heart filled with the love of God will be honest, kind, trustworthy, and loving. When the heart is right, right actions will follow (1 Peter 1:22).
So how can you teach your kids/teens to treat others like they want to be treated? Work with them to get them to ask themselves “How would I like my sibling to treat me if the tables were turned and I was in his/her situation?” Another good question to ask is “How would I feel if they treated me the way I am getting ready to treat them?”
If you want peace and calm between your kids, a great way to achieve this is to get them to work on treating others like they want to be treated. Why not make this a family project?
“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly,
since love covers a multitude of sins.”
1 Peter 4:8