I believe in a lot of things. I believe we are stewards of creation, so I recycle. And, I believe in using disposable diapers.
I believe food is a blessing and should not be wasted. And, I believe decorating a gingerbread house at Christmas is a wonderful tradition.
I believe a diet should include lots of fruits and vegetables. And, I believe a bit of chocolate each day is a good thing.
Once I became a parent, my beliefs did not change, but old beliefs came more into focus. One that reigns prominent is the belief in The Golden Rule. You know, “Treat others the way you want to be treated.” It sounds rather pithy, but it is what I believe.
Would you like it if your sister grabbed your doll without asking? No. Then ask nicely for it.
Would you like it if Daddy ate the last cookie? No. Then share the last Oreo.
Would you like it if Mommy called you stupid? No. Then use helpful words not hurtful ones.
I wanted a silver bullet for parenting – the one thing that would guide me as to how to raise responsible children into responsible adults. Something I could put on the refrigerator as an easy reminder. I found it, and it is making me a more responsible adult.
Would I like it if no one remembered my birthday? No. Then send birthday cards. E-cards are free for heaven’s sake!
Would I like it if people were rude to me? No. Then say “please”, “thank you” and “you’re welcome”. Not “no problem”.
Would I like it if someone bought all the skim milk off the grocery store shelf? No. Then don’t buy all the cartons when I only need one.
I started seeing the relevance of The Golden Rule everywhere, again and again.
Would I like to go hungry? No. Then feed the hungry.
Would I like it if I had no home? No. Then help the homeless.
Would I like it if no one cared? No. Then pray.
It was enlightening. The silver bullet – not just for parenting but for life. My behavior, and that of my family, my children are being guided by this one principle.
Actually, make it two bullets. The Bible says the greatest commandment is to love God with all of your heart, soul, mind and strength. The second is like it – Love your neighbor as yourself. Everything rides on these two it says.
I had remembered the first but had forgotten the second. I believe we are responsible to God and to each other. Some call this “liberal Christianity” or “works salvation”. I believe this is being socially responsible and is classic Christian theology. I believe the Golden Rule hasn’t lost its luster.
And with any luck, maybe someone else believes the same thing, so when I need that skim milk, there will be a carton of it left on the grocery shelf.
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