FEATURE — Most people are familiar with the age-old golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. These words of wisdom guide people to treat others the way they wish to be treated. In short, it is a principle of reciprocity.
But what does the golden rule actually look like in practice, and how can today’s youth spread goodness throughout their community by abiding and living by it?
These are questions that Stephanie Dale, principal and owner of the private, faith-based school Liberty Youth Academy in St. George, asked of her students during the 2017-18 academic school year.
In answer to her question – and with her guidance – the students created “The Golden Rule Initiative.”
The concept is simple, yet has the potential to create a positive ripple effect throughout the community and even the world.
In a YouTube video the students created, the children describe the initiative as the ability to change the world one person at a time by performing simple acts of kindness for others and seeing every individual as a “divine being.”
The video uses the following quote from author C.S. Lewis:
It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship.
The children in the video then issue a call to action to their community and beyond: Go out and do good or find others doing good and share it on social media using the hashtag #thegoldenruleinitiative.
It isn’t about bragging, Dale said, but rather about the idea that one person can go out into the world and spread goodness and then share that goodness by using social media in a positive way.
“One of the main principles that we teach the students is that one person can make a difference in the world,” Dale said.
The golden rule is a principle the students at Liberty Youth Academy took to heart during their school year, participating in charity projects for area nonprofits such as Big Brothers Big Sisters of Southern Utah, Switchpoint Community Resource Center and The Utah Food Bank.
The students also participated in fundraising efforts as partners with Korah Kids – formerly Pink Shoes, a local charity that helps families in the trash dump city of Korah, Ethiopia.
Donations were collected throughout the school. Dale said it was amazing to watch her students bring in money they had earned from mowing lawns, babysitting or doing chores.
Dale provided added incentive to the students by offering to match donations up to $2,000. The money donated to the organization helped provide housing, bedding and medical care for the people in the Ethiopian community.
Dale said she and her staff plan to continue promoting The Golden Rule Initiative in the 2018-19 school year and hope to carry it further into the community by sharing their goals with community businesses and other schools and inviting them to become involved.
About Liberty Youth Academy
Liberty Youth Academy is a private leadership academy that serves children pre-K through 12th grade based on The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints faith. With its small class sizes and emphasis on virtue, the academy offers an alternative to public education by combining principles of truth with solid academics, which in turn educates the mind, touches the heart and inspires the hands to go to work to better the lives of all.
Through individualized mentoring, studying classical literature and original documents and bringing students “face to face” with the great leaders, statesmen and women of the past, Liberty Youth Academy strives to develop each child’s individual gifts, talents and abilities to foster in them a desire to be leaders in their families and communities.
Because of the academy’s small class sizes and a hands-on approach to learning, teachers can really help find and develop their students’ passions.
Instead of placing them all in a box that measures their abilities by a strict set of standards, children are given the opportunity to truly experience learning.
“One size does not fit all in education,” Dale said.
Liberty Youth Academy still has a few spots open in the younger grades for the 2018-19 school year. For more information, contact Stephanie Dale at 435-668-4804.
Written by HOLLIE REINA, St. George News.
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