In St. Luke’s gospel our LORD Jesus tells his disciples, “As ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” Most of us are probably more familiar with the paraphrased version of this verse that is known as ‘The Golden Rule‘ (“Do unto others as yo would have them do unto you“).
Everyone wants to be treated fairly. Our country has gone to war time and time again, civil rights movements and human rights movements have been established, many have shed their blood and given their lives all so that people could be treated fairly.
We want to be treated fairly at church, at school, and at work. We want to be treated fairly by our friends, our family, our teachers, our employers, and our government. Most of us aren’t looking for special treatment above and beyond what everyone else receives, but none of us enjoy being humiliated in front of others, or when we are treated less favorably than our peers.
Are we as willing to constantly check our own actions to ensure we give out equal treatment to others as we are to fight for our own equal rights? Do we limit this checking of actions to our interactions in public (school, work, church, etc), or do we strive to treat our family and friends with the same level of respect?
“Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.” (St. Matthew 7:12)
When it comes to marriage; do we treat our spouse the way that we want to be treated? Do we stop long enough to truly listen, and communicate back? Do we give them the attention and respect that we expect to receive?
When it comes to our children; do we remember how we felt at their age, and give them the time, and patience that we desired from our parents?
I see so many parents (and have admittedly caught myself being guilty of the same from time to time) who expect very young children to act like adults.
Personally I don’t want to look back in twenty years to find that my memories of our children growing up are that my wife and I were able to train them to sit like little soldiers so that they never embarrassed us as parents, never did anything out of line, and grew up despising us.
My wife and I want our children to respect us as parents. We want them to understand their position as children and ours as parents, but we do not want our children to live in fear of us. We do not want them to feel that they can never make a mistake, or that they cannot come and talk to us when they find themselves in trouble.
I would like to look back in twenty years and be able to say that my children were not perfect little soldiers who never made mistakes, but that they were good children who were full of life, and love, and laughter. I want to remember that we allowed them to be children (even if it meant the occasional dirty clothes, or trips to the bathroom to apply band-aids as a result of their ‘adventures’, and maybe even a few random pieces of broken furniture).
I want them to be able to look back and see that their parents were not perfect, but that we tried to teach them all that we knew about Jesus, and how to live their lives to their fullest ability.
I hope that they will be able to look back and find that their fond memories heavily outweighing the bad.
I trust that they will realize their parents had their best interests in mind with every decision we made, and that we treated them equally, and loved them each the same for their own unique ways.
If you have children please recognize that you are their hero, and try to live up to those expectations before you prove them wrong.
“Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.” (St. Matthew 18:10)