Consider these versions of The Golden Rule as taught by some of the major world religions:
- Bahá’í: And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself. —Bahá’u’lláh
- Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.—Udanavarga 5:18
- Christianity: (Jesus said,) “Do to others as you would have them do to you.” Luke 6:31 NIV
- Confucianism: (Confucius said,) “What you do not wish for yourself, do not do to others.”
- Hinduism: One should never do that to another which one regards as injurious to one’s own self. This, in brief, is the rule of dharma. Other behavior is due to selfish desires. —Brihaspati, Mahabharata (Anusasana Parva, Section CXIII, Verse 8)
- Islam: “That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.” – Muhammad
- Judaism: That which is hateful to you, do not do to your fellow. That is the whole Torah; the rest is the explanation; go and learn it. —Talmud, Shabbat 31a, the “Great Principle”
- Taoism: Try to treat others as you would want them to treat you. — The Way to Happiness, Precept 20
Despite the ubiquitous nature of this maxim, bullying runs rampant in our society – in public schools, in Christian schools, on buses, on the playground, on the playing field, on the internet, in the boardroom. Even Miss America contestants – beautiful and smart and talented – are increasingly admitting to having been bullied and are competing with anti-bullying platforms. Schools can pick from dozens of anti-bullying programs.
Unfortunately, this approach just seems to drive bullying further underground. Bullies are insidious. They know how to hide or disguise their behavior. They are also smart and can figure out ways to get around the new rules.
There has been a major shift in our society. It used to be that we focused on the good of the community; now the focus is on what is best for the individual. I have a deep appreciation for the JFK quote: “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Substitute just about anything else into that sentence – family, school, class, team, company – and it still works! If I were Miss America, my anti-bullying platform would be a little different. We need to shift the focus away from the individual – the bully – and onto society – the greater good.
Do unto others . . . it really is that simple.