On Tuesdays I hold “Oma School” for my grandkids who attend Veritas Academy.

On the very first Tuesday, I told them we would be abiding by just one rule this year.
Just one?” they whispered, glancing at each other with amusement.
What rule do you think that should be?” I asked them.
               “Not interrupt?”
               “Pay attention?”
               “Work diligently?”
I chuckled silently as they chose rules that had applied to them personally the previous school year.  “These are all good ideas,” I replied, “but you are all wrong.”
This year we are going to abide by the one rule spoken by Jesus in His Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7:12), ”  I told them.

So whatever you wish that others would to you, do also to them.

Now that sounds pretty simple doesn’t it?” I asked them. “But it actually means doing ALL those things you mentioned earlier.”
I went on to explain how in Galatians 5:14 this same rule is defined this way: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 
It means thinking of others and not just yourself.
It’s choosing honor and justice for those around you as much as you desire it for yourself.
Sometimes it’s even choosing grace rather than what you think others deserve.
The day played out pretty nicely. I had plenty of opportunity to also acknowledge “golden” moments.  Then each time they interrupted or argued, or chose to not listen to instruction, I would ask if they thought their own behavior lined up with the Golden Rule. With this simple reminder, they would make positive adjustments. During lunch recess, I heard an argument ensuing outside. Opening the back door, I listened to what was going on and quickly concluded that three of them wanted to play a game that required all four to participate, but one did not want to. Simply asking the question, “are you treating your cousins as you would want to be treated” put an end to the stalemate.
So far, this is proving to be easier than addressing their misbehaviors.  And it’s resulting in less arguments and better behavior.  The words of Jesus hold way more clout and power than my own. My prayer is that it will become more internalized by each of my grandkids by regular reminders and practice.

img_3725I am working hard at practicing the Golden Rule myself.

In particular I am trying to be more patient and gentle rather than responding out of stress when things don’t go as planned.   With my 88-year-old mom living with us, I also need to be thoughtful in how to treat her when my excitable, energetic grandkids invade her living space for the day.
I know that character is often caught so we are in this together this year to treat each other as we want ourselves to be treated. It’s one thing to have memorized the Golden Rule. It’s another thing to make it a daily life habit.

The Golden Rule is the summing up of what everyone, at bottom, has always know to be right.  Really good moral teachers never introduce new moralities.  The real job of every moral teacher is to keep bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are so anxious not to see.”  C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity.”