The Rule of Rules

Here is a simple, rule-of-thumb guide for behavior: Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get. (Matthew 7:12 MSG)

One of the major issues in raising children is the question of behavior. It is such a big issue that Children's Ministry Magazine features an Q & A on discipline in every issue. Volumes have been written on child behavior. Some even make a career out of studying child behavior.

In the classroom, children need simple rules that are easy to remember. Most “experts” recommend three rules or less. Any more and the children are likely to get confused or forget the rules. Rules should be posted clearly in the classroom where children can read them. When a child steps out of line, the teacher should remind children of the rule they broke and give the child a chance to correct the problem.

Whatever the rules of your classroom, I would like to suggest one catch-all rule for children (it works for youth and adults, too). In Matthew 7:12, Jesus encourages His listeners to Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. (MSG) More simply put in the Contemporary English Version (CEV) of the Bible, Treat others as you want them to treat you. Following this rule is a simple matter of asking yourself, "Would I want someone to treat me this way?" Jesus said this is sum of the Law and Prophets.

The beauty of this rule is that it encompasses any other rules you might want your children to remember. If you want children to keep their hands and feet to themselves, they can apply this rule and realize they would not want someone else to kick or hit them. If you want them to raise their hands before speaking, they can apply this rule and realize they would not want someone to interrupt them when they are talking.

Jesus made it simple, and it pleases God when we treat others in a respectful manner. Children can learn this rule. Even toddlers can memorize the CEV version of this verse and learn to apply it to their interaction with others. Parents, this rule works well around the house, too (for both parents and children).

One simple rule, given to us by our Lord. One simple rule we should always try to follow.