An invaluable lesson for kids can be found in the old adage “Treat others as you would like to be treated yourself”. This is referred to as the ‘Golden Rule’ and is prominently feature in many religious texts and cultures. If everyone thought of others in everything they did, the world would unquestionably be a better place. As a teacher, you will often see situations where this piece of advice is necessary. However, kids, especially young ones, may not be as receptive to or fully internalize a single quote. And lecturing has been shown to not be effective. A story illustrating a situation in which we should treat others as we’d like to be treated is a good medium. The story of The Old Man and His Grandson teaches this concept in a way that children can understand.
After reading the story to your students, discuss the lessons learned. Who was wrong in the story? (The mother.) Why was she wrong? (She treated the grandfather very poorly.) What did she learn? (That what she was doing was wrong.) And what caused her to see why she was wrong? (She saw her son saving up money to buy her plastic dishes when she got older…meaning, she realized he would do to her what she was doing to the grandfather. She wouldn’t want to be treated so poorly herself, so she realized she shouldn’t treat others that way either.)
After reading the story, some projects with your students will help drive home the lesson. Start off by having your students each draw a picture of a way they can treat others as they’d like to be treated. Would they like if others shared their crayons/toys/lunch? Then they should share themselves, and that’s what their picture can be about. Would they like others to help them out if they got hurt? Then they can draw a picture of themselves helping out a hurt friend. Then, design a poster (with the help of your students if you prefer) stating the classroom rule: Treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself. You can refer students back to this poster whenever a situation arises in class where you’d like to remind them that they’re not behaving in a way they’d want to be treated.