Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Golden Rule in the 21st Century

jlife reconvened at church last night. Michael and I enjoyed our three weeks off for Christmas break but it was good to see the kiddos again. We thought we'd ease back into things by having a short lesson (aka: we were unprepared). As the kids were killing each other with dodge balls, I was scrambling for a Bible story to share with the group. I found one that was all about the Golden Rule and thought it was perfect. Dodgeball is played on the honor system and each week I witness at least one of them lie about getting hit with the ball. On days when I'm exhausted I choose to ignore it but most of the time Michael or I call them out and give them the stern, "Lying is baaaaad" speech. The circle of life moment occurs when the liar then hits another player with the ball and that player also claims they were not hit. Suddenly there are a bunch of red-faced preteens pointing fingers at one another with loud proclamations of "I HIT them! They're LYING!" Ah yes, the Golden Rule.

So we sat in a circle and I read the lesson. I asked if anyone knew what the Golden Rule was and heard several wrong (albeit funny) answers. "Silence is Golden!" (YES!!!) "Be good to your parents." (Fantastic!) "Whoever has the gold makes the rule." (I threw that in for you Aladdin fans.) Finally one of our favorites and the constant go-to when you need the right answer said, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I asked him to put that into 21st century terms and he replied, "Don't shoot someone if you don't want them to shoot you." Awesome. I reminded him that the rule encompassed more than guns and he came back with a more appropriate answer.

The kids were GETTING it! Each volunteered an instance when they had done something wrong and how they should have handled the situation. We talked about not getting back at others even if they made us angry. Their eyes were lighting up, there was excitement in their voices, and I gave myself a fierce pat on the back for being the world's best teacher. After the lesson we shared prayer requests (this takes at least 15 minutes every week--6th and 7th graders adore this time for reasons beyond me) and then it was time to go. Most days Michael and I trudge to the car utterly exhausted but this week I actually had a hop in my step.

And then reality hit.

As I approached the lobby I saw two unhappy kids, both with their arms crossed. I looked at one, then the other and noticed she had lemonade all OVER the shirt she'd just received for Christmas. I looked at the guilty party and asked, "What just happened?" His reply made my head drop, "Well she pinched me and that made me mad so I poured my lemonade on her."

So much for the Golden Rule.

1 comment:

Leslie said...

Oh man...ironically, I just had this same conversation (literally...about the Golden Rule!) with a bunch of Greek presidents yesterday. I'm afraid they will respond similarly. (Awesome dialogue in our meeting, but they will run right out and cheat on their homecoming floats).


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