Introduction

It is likely that the most basic everyday guideline for human behavior is to treat people as you would want to be treated if you were in the other’s position. In the United States, this guideline has been known as the “Golden Rule” since the 1800s.

Many human troubles, conflicts and tragedies involve situations in which people could have acted according to the Golden Rule but, to their sorrow, they did not. Cultural examples of this in American history include the treatment of African-Americans, Native Americans, other minority groups, laborers and women. Most people can think of personal situations that would have been less stressful if the Golden Rule had been used.

The material in this document conveys the universality of the Golden Rule. The presentation here was developed primarily for high school juniors and seniors (ages 16 to 18) to demonstrate that the Golden Rule is more than a behavioral guide for small children. However, many young people will be able to use it effectively prior to their last years of high school depending on their reading ability. Any young person who understands the words being used in this document can profit from this lesson plan.

Moreover, this curriculum has relevance beyond the realm of public, religious and private schools. Sunday school teachers, home schooling parents, scout leaders, and other youth educators will find it useful (in whole or in part). The content of this lesson plan can also be utilized as a basis for constructing age-appropriate lessons.

The authors of this document hope that the instructors themselves will be inspired as they teach young people the joys of making the Golden Rule a lifelong moral standard.

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