About the event
In 2007 the United Religions Institute (URI) declared April 5th as Golden Rule Day. Originally a project born out of interfaith organising in Africa, and particularly Ethiopia, Golden Rule Day was founded to promote the universal values of empathy, compassion and peace. It is now managed by the organisation Charter for Compassion.
The Golden Rule - 'treat others and the planet as you would like to be treated’ - is found in practically every religion and society. This day highlights the Golden Rule as a unifying value that everyone can use as a starting point for collaboration and changemaking.
How to approach it
There are two angles you should use to get the most out of this day. Firstly, encourage an understanding of the history and prevalence of the Golden Rule. Ask students to share examples of this principle that they have come across in their own lives. This can be in school, in religious teachings or amongst friends and family. Next, intoduce examples they may not have heard of, this could be from a philosopher, a poet or a less studied religion. It's important to show how pervasive the Golden Rule is, and how diverse the people are that practice it.
Secondly, get students to think through what the usefulness of the Golden Rule is. Work these questions together. Why is this a good rule? What would we need to do if we were to follow it well? In order to treat someone (or the planet) appropriately we must understand their needs, so exercises that develop students' empathy and peacebuilding capacities are great here. Finally, think about the implications of this rule. Do we as a society live up to it? What are we doing well? What should we do better?
The Golden Rule is: treat others and the planet as you would like to be treated. This idea is present in many cultures and religions around the world and throughout history. Can you find any examples? Why do you think this simple rule is so popular?