Do Unto Others
I’m sure every person who has ever gone to school has had some form of another student(s) being unkind or purposefully hurtful, yet it seems that this is becoming a serious problem. Maybe with the advance in technology it makes it easier to be callous if you do not have to say things to another directly. Or maybe the attitude in society has shifted towards a more aggressive manner. There may be several components to this escalation in demeaning and violent way of behaving.
Nevertheless, there is a definite shift from the sage wisdom and counsel to do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Do you wonder if this change is because of a ‘me’ attitude? Could it be from an ‘entitled’ mind-set?
Probably both of these and more reasons are involved.
This would be a pertinent subject and timely with school starting, for a serious, loving and open discussion about what bullying is. Could our children be victims or the perpetrators? If so, it is imperative that we as care-giver/parent/ grandparent are willing to deal with whatever maybe the case, so action can be taken.
If our child is the victim, it is important to support him or her; here are some action plans:
- Listen and focus on the child. Learn what’s been going on and show you want to help.
- Assure the child that bullying is not their fault.
- Know that kids who are bullied may struggle with talking about it. Consider referring them to a school counselor, psychologist, or other mental health service.
- Give options and advice about what to do. This may involve role-playing and thinking through how the child might react if the bullying occurs again.
- Work together to resolve the situation and protect the bullied child. The child, parents, and school or organization may all have valuable input.
- Be persistent. Bullying may not end overnight. Commit to making it stop and consistently support the bullied child.
What if our child is the perpetrator? Here are some ideas to help them stop such behavior:
- Make sure the child knows what the problem behavior is. Young people who bully must learn their behavior is wrong and harms others.
- Show kids that bullying is taken seriously. Calmly tell the child that bullying will not be tolerated. Model respectful behavior when addressing the problem.
- Sometimes children bully to fit in. These kids can benefit from participating in positive activities. Involvement in sports and clubs can enable them to take leadership roles and make friends without feeling the need to bully.
- Other times kids act out because something else—issues at home, abuse, stress—is going on in their lives. They also may have been bullied. These kids may be in need of additional support, such as mental health services.
- Use consequences to teach. Consequences that involve learning or building empathy can help prevent future bullying. Such as involve the kid who bullied in making amends or repairing the situation. The goal is to help them see how their actions affect others. For example, the child can:
- Write a letter apologizing to the student who was bullied.
- Do a good deed for the person who was bullied or for others in your community.
- Clean up, repair, or pay for any property they damaged.
- After the bullying issue is resolved, continue finding ways to help the child who bullied to understand how what they do affects other people. For example, praise acts of kindness or talk about what it means to be a good friend.
(These ideas and more information can be found at: http://www.stopbullying.gov)
Our children, no matter their age, have their agency to choose how they will treat others. But, we can have a great influence on setting a foundation for their actions, which they can draw from.
Teach by example. How do we, as adults, treat others in the family and out of our home? Do we go out of our way to show a kindness even when it is not convenient? Do we try to find good in all? Do we put down others who have what we want or feel we deserve?
I saw a news video a few years back about a girl who had her friends help her trap and beat up another girl. The girl was seriously injured, the perpetrator had severe consequences with the law and it was all over the silliest and inconsequential thing. I was shocked at the action of the girl and her friends over such a trivial matter; however, the most appalling aspect was the mother’s reaction of the perpetrator as she spoke with reporters. She actually justified her daughter’s actions! Her daughter had done wrong on all accounts; there was not mistake or question about it. She had intentionally acted brutally, and now would have this hanging over her the rest of her life. Not just with law, but her view of herself.
You have to wonder if the girl had ever had consequences for her actions – ever. Had she been involved in making a meal or treats for neighbors that weren’t ‘popular’ in the neighborhood but needed care? Had she been taught the golden rule: Do Unto Others as YOU would have done to YOU? Did she know what that meant? I don’t know the answer to these questions, but her life is changed for the worst.
If you feel it is appropriate for your family, no matter the age of the members, please consider a family time or meeting when you could discuss this subject and role play, giving everyone a chance to be on both sides. Then let them express how they felt as the perpetrator and as the victim. Help them to understand how it is impossible to feel pure love and happiness when causing fear and sorrow.
Below are a few quotes you may want to print out, cut into strips and let each, in turn, read one and as a family discuss what it means. Try to direct the discussion in a way to help them recognize how it makes them feel inside when they contemplate caring and easing burdens of another, versus destroying calm and peace for another person and them self. Possibly end the time together by giving each the opportunity to write a note to a family member, fellow student or friend thanking them for friendship, or a kindness, and asking them to forgive them of an offense.
Keep up the great work you are doing in your home, it is the most important of all you do. Every effort, even small that we do for good is noticed by Him, and not forgotten.
Zi Gong asked, saying, “Is there one word that may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not reciprocity such a word?” – Confucius
“Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” – Confucius
“If people regarded other people’s families in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own family to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself.” – Mozi
“The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful.” –Laozi
“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” –Laozi
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.—Udanavarga 5
Beware lest ye harm any soul, or make any heart to sorrow; lest ye wound any man with your words, be he known to you or a stranger, be he friend or foe. —`Abdu’l-Bahá
That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn.” —Talmud, Shabbat 31a
And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. Luke 6:31
If the entire “Dharma” (spiritual and moral laws) can be said in a few words, then it is – that which is unfavorable to us, do not do that to others. (Padmapuraana, shrushti 19/357-358)
A Bedouin came to the prophet, grabbed the stirrup of his camel and said: O the messenger of God! Teach me something to go to heaven with it. Prophet said: “As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don’t do to them. Now let the stirrup go! [This maxim is enough for you; go and act in accordance with it!]” —Kitab al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 146
“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.” —An-Nawawi’s Forty Hadith 13 (p. 56)
The Jewish sage and martyr Rabbi Akiba, following Hillel the Elder (c.110 BC, died 10 AD), had singled out the Golden Rule (Leviticus 19:18) as a basic principle of the Torah meaning, that the principle of love must have its foundation in Genesis verse 1, which teaches that all men are the offspring of Adam who was made in the image of God (Sifra, Ḳedoshim, iv.; Yer. Ned. ix. 41c; Genesis Rabba 24). According to Jewish rabbinic literature, the first man Adam represents the unity of mankind. This is echoed in the modern preamble of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. And it is also taught, that Adam is last in order according to the evolutionary character of God’s creation: “Why was only a single specimen of man created first? To teach us that he who destroys a single soul destroys a whole world and that he who saves a single soul saves a whole world; furthermore, so no race or class may claim a nobler ancestry, saying, ‘Our father was born first’; and, finally, to give testimony to the greatness of the Lord, who caused the wonderful diversity of mankind to emanate from one type.[67
Copyright Carrie Groneman, A Mother’s Shadow, 2013
Recognize a blessing and be a blessing today.
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