This is the first post in a series on World Religions for Kids, a group of articles packed with resources to help teachers and parents teach their children about World Religions as a means to promote compassion, empathy, cultural understanding, and tolerance.
World religions share a common virtue, that is universally taught, respect, revered: it is often referred to as The Golden Rule. This simple, moral principle is prevalent in world religions and cultures throughout history:
This poster is used with permission by the creators at Scarboro Missions. It is available to purchase from Ontario Multifaith Council and Interfaith Marketplace. Wouldn’t it be a great addition to your classroom?
In recent years, the Scarboro Missions Interfaith Desk in Toronto has committed itself to building a website featuring free, useful, and educational resources for interfaith work. Here are 4 of their most popular resources, developed to accompany their incredible Golden Rule Poster (above) which features the Golden Rule – scripturally and symbolically – in 13 religions.
2) The 13 Golden Rule texts in 9 languages: English, Spanish, French, Italian, German, Portuguese, Urdu, Japanese & Hebrew
Stories/Videos about the Golden Rule
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Here are some adapted stories and fairytales on-line about the Golden Rule.
This art lesson plan explores the Golden Rule across cultures.
Do Unto Otters: A Book about Manners, by the awesome author Laurie Keller, is great for the little kids (preK-2nd). Although it does not discuss world religions or the universality of the Golden Rule, the animals in this book bring the Rule to life by showing how Mr. Rabbit makes new friends with his new neighbors. This is a great way to show kids how to practice in real life the values of friendliness, politeness, honesty, consideration, cooperation, and sharing.
The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper, is appropriate for kids in preK- 5th grade. A grandfather explains to his grandson the meaning of the Golden Rule and how it is a guiding principle in many different cultures and religions. They also discuss how to practice the virtue, and ponder what would happen if others would also follow the Golden Rule. The story is accompanied by beautiful painted illustrations.
Watch this sweet video of children from diverse cultures and world religions come together to illustrate the moral principle of The Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.
Please note that a reader has informed me that while the message of the Golden Rule in the video is beautiful, the Sikh religion is inaccurately represented in the video; she has also contacted Hallmark. This could kindle a dialogue about how organizations reach out to different faiths and how the media sometimes distorts the truth.