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Love Is the Golden Rule

Love Is the Golden Rule
Love Is the Golden Rule

Golden Rule versions from the book The Golden Rule.

Maya was eight years old and had rules to follow all day long. At school there were special rules.

(Leader: Briefly ask the children for examples of school rules.)

At school Maya had to raise their hand to talk. They could only eat if it was lunch or snack time. They needed a bathroom pass if they wanted to go to the bathroom. And, they were not allowed to copy anyone else's work.

Maya also had special rules at home.

(Leader: Ask for examples of rules at home. Adapt the following sentence to reflect their contributions.)

Maya had to go to bed at eight o'clock. They were never allowed to hit their younger sibling (even if their sibling hit first). They had to eat vegetables. And, they could watch television for half an hour every day.

There were also special rules at their congregation.

(Leader: Briefly ask children for examples of rules in your congregation.)

Maya was not allowed to run during coffee hour. They had to talk in an indoor voice. And, they were expected to be friendly and welcoming to everyone. Maya was sick and tired of all those rules! One day, Maya decided they wanted just one rule to follow—one very important rule, to take the place of all of those other rules.

Maya asked their Uncle Guna what he thought was the most important rule of all. He told them that in his religion, Hinduism, it is said, "This is the sum of duty: to do nothing to others which would cause them pain."

(Leader: Briefly ask children what sorts of things someone would do if they follow this rule.)

Maya asked their next-door-neighbor, Claire, what they thought was the most important rule of all. Claire told Maya that a teacher from the Buddhist religion had said, "Do not do to others what would hurt you."

(Leader: Briefly ask children what sorts of things someone would do if they follow this rule. Note: It's okay if the children give the same responses they gave to the previous question.)

Maya asked their best friend, Adam, what they thought was the most important rule. Adam told Maya that at their Jewish synagogue they learned that Hebrew scripture teaches, "You shall love thy neighbor as thyself." Another friend, Maria, told Maya they learned the same rule at her Catholic church.

(Leader: Briefly ask children what sorts of things someone would do if they follow this rule.)

Maya asked their friend, Malik, what they thought was the most important rule. Malik said that in their religion, Islam, people say, "None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."

(Leader: Briefly ask children what sorts of things someone would do if they follow this rule.)

Maya asked their Uncle Greg what he thought was the most important rule. Uncle Greg said that when he does pagan magic he always follows the rule, "An ye harm none, do what you will." He told Maya this means he cannot do anything that would hurt another living being.

(Leader: Briefly ask children what sorts of things someone would do if they follow this rule.)

Maya thought about all of the answers they had heard. Maya wrote them down, one at a time.

"This is the sum of duty: to do nothing to others which would cause them pain." (Hinduism)

"Do not do to others what would hurt you." (Buddhism)

"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Jewish and Christian)

"None of you truly believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself." (Islam)

"An ye harm none, do what you will." (Neo-pagan)

On Sunday morning Maya took the list of rules to their Unitarian Universalist congregation. Maya showed it to the minister, Rev. Marta, and asked Rev. Marta which rule she thought was most important.

Rev. Marta said, "I notice that these rules are all very similar. They are different versions of a rule some people call 'the Golden Rule.' What do you think is the most important rule?"

(Leader: Invite children to answer this question.)

Maya paused for a moment. Then Maya said slowly, "I think love is the Golden Rule. When we are loving, then we do not hurt other people or cause them pain, we wish for others what we wish for ourselves, and we love our neighbors as ourselves."

"That sounds like the most important rule to me!" Rev. Marta agreed. "Love is the Golden Rule!"

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