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Teaching your Kids: Treat Others the Way You Want to Be Treated

In this lesson, let's turn to one of the most widely shared sayings across time and cultures – the Golden Rule: Treat other people as you would have them treat you. You'd be hard-pressed to find a better piece of advice for how to behave in your life. But, like all maxims, it still pales in comparison to the effectiveness of a good story to communicate a message. So for this lesson, I want to share a 13th-century French folktale called the shared covering.

There once was a family with three generations living under one roof. The time came when the grandfather was unable to work to help support himself or the household, and he became a burden on his son and grandchildren. His son told him that he had to move out. But to protect the old man from the cold, he asked the eldest grandchild to find a nice warm blanket for the old man to take with him. The child left the room and quickly came back with the nicest, warmest blanket in the house – but only half of it. And when the father noticed that it was torn in two. He asked his son, "Why have you kept the other half of the blanket?" The child responded, "Why it's for you, of course, daddy, when it's your time to go."

As parents, it's easy to forget that our children learn much more from what we do than what we say. Let this story remind us all to not only teach our children the lessons contained in this course, but to live them out ourselves. If we treat others fairly, they will treat us that way. Our children will see that and do likewise.

  1. What do you think of the father's decision to send the grandfather out when he could no longer earn his keep?

  2. Do you think he was surprised when his son explained why he only brought back half the blanket? Do you think he might reconsider his decision?

  3. Think about the people you spend time around today. Did you treat each of them the way you would want to be treated?

  4. When do you think it's appropriate to treat someone differently than you would want them to treat you?

Okay, in the next lesson, we'll turn our attention to forgiveness and gratitude.

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Written by

Paul Andrew Smith