Monday, January 19, 2009

Do unto Others

Yes, we are going to talk about The Golden Rule. My children love to quote The Golden Rule. Unfortunately, their interpretation is a bit off making The Golden Rule something more along the lines of The Lead Rule.

At my house, something will happen, you never know what. And one child will hit/push/bite or otherwise injure a sibling. The injured sibling will proceed to hit/push/bite or otherwise injure the original offender. At which point I will hear screaming and someone saying in a very self-righteous, justified tone "Do unto others!"

It seems that they have gotten a bit confused between "do unto others" and "an eye for an eye." They think that The Golden Rule gives them license to retaliate for any injustice, perceived or otherwise, done to them. If someone hits them, The Golden Rule says, in their world, they are justified and even entitled to hit back. They think that since this is The Golden Rule in action there will be no punishment.

I'm all for them settling their own disputes. If they want to duke it out or otherwise have a WWF throw down to settle their problems I really don't mind. Well, as long as the fight is fair (not a big kid versus a little kid) and they don't involve me. I want them to learn to solve their own disputes and I hope they will chose to use their words but that isn't always going to happen. But, I draw the line at justifying decking someone with The Golden Rule.

We had a chat on the way to dinner about this tonight due to a conflict that erupted this afternoon. I explained The Golden Rule and then gave them a scenario and asked what The Golden Rule says they should do.

Me: If someone hits you, and you are following The Golden Rule what should you do? Should you hit them back or should you walk away from them.

Charlotte: You should walk away.

Me: What if they follow you and hit you again.

Rehm: Then you should hit them back!

Me: Why?

Rehm: Well, because you already walked away and they did it again!

Me: According to The Golden Rule you should still walk away, well unless you want people to hit you, then you should hit them.

Charlotte: But now you should go tell a grown up.

Me: Yes, now it would be appropriate to tell a grown up. (We also have a no tattling rule at our house that says if someone hits you or otherwise does something they shouldn't you can't tattle. We won't punish the offender if someone tattles on them as we don't encourage tattling.)

Me: So today when you to were arguing what happened?

Rehm: Charlotte hit me!

Me: So you hit her back?

Rehm: Yes!

Me: Charlotte what was Rehm doing to annoy you enough to make you hit him?

Charlotte told me but at the moment I don't remember what he did.

Me: Charlotte when Rehm is being annoying should you hit him?

Charlotte: No!

Me: The next time Rehm is being annoying, instead of hitting him, why don't you give him a big hug?

Rehm: Ew! No Charlotte don't do that!

Me: See Charlotte if you did that I bet Rehm would stop annoying you. And if he decided to treat you the way you are treating him the worst thing that would happen is he would hug you back!

Rehm: I'm never going to hug her.

Charlotte: You do some nights when I come get hugs and kisses!

Rehm: No I don't!

Me: Charlotte if you really want to stop him when he is being annoying give him a hug and a kiss.

Rehm is now making gagging noises and pretending to die. I think our teachable moment has passed.

So are my kids the only ones that grossly misinterpret The Golden Rule? Please tell me what your kids take on it is. I used to feel proud of the fact they knew what The Golden Rule was and could recite it. Obviously, it really doesn't matter if their interpretation is flawed.


1 comment:

Brenna and Molly said...

My girls tell each other, "Treat others the way you want to be treated." I've told them many times that they can walk away, vent to me (I won't take sides if I didn't see the offense but it helps to get it out of their systems to talk. My rule is that telling mom is for when you need to get someone OUT of trouble. Tattling is when you try to get someone IN trouble.) or even yell but the #1 rule is that they never, ever, ever raise a hand to hit. I tell them that neither Dean nor I hit each other or them when we're angry so it is not ever acceptable for them to hit each other. They stomp, they pout, they fune but they don't get physical. Basically I'm trying to avert major cat fights from them when they get to be teenagers!