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The Golden Rule: A way to solve the bully problem

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Aristotle explained that the best way to live our lives is to treat others the way we want to be treated. Aristotle reasoned that if we all lived by this Golden Rule, we wouldn’t need government.

Two hundred years later Rabbi Hillel, a Jewish sage, was asked to explain the Torah while standing on one foot. Hillel said, “Whatever is hateful to yourself, do not do to others.” About a century later, Jesus of Nazareth said, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Izzy Kalman, MS Nationally Certified School Psychologist and founder of Bullies2Buddies says, “The Golden Rule is actually a scientific psychological rule. It is a simple formula for defusing aggression and creating harmony.”

Children and adults live more by the Rule of Nature than the Golden Rule. The Rule of Nature or what social scientists call the Law of Reciprocity dictates, “I will treat you the way you treat me. If you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice back, and if you’re mean to me, I’ll be mean back.”

When someone is nice to you, you want to be nice back. And when someone commits a nasty act towards you, you want revenge. We are biologically programmed for reciprocity.

At schools, principals and vice principals want their children to live by the Golden Rule. However, if a child choses to follow a darker path, these administrators will punish the kid. Is this following the Golden Rule they are trying to teach? Obviously, not.

It’s easy for kids to be nice to other friendly children. It’s tough loving your enemy. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you.”

Unfortunately, school districts nationwide proclaim a zero tolerance for bullying. Shouldn’t this policy be changed to “Love your bully; be nice to bullies even if they are mean to you?”

Remember the Law of Reciprocity. After a while few bullies will continue their bullying ways if everyone is nice to them. Biological programming will eventually kick in and they will start being nice back.

Bullying problem solved.

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