Put the following statement on every schoolhouse in America: "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." This is often referred to as "The Golden Rule." It is, in some form, present in every major religion in the world: Christianity, Judaism, Muslim, Sikh, Buddhism, Hindu...the list goes on.
There are very general and simple reasons why this will help change generations of behavior toward one another for the better.
From the time we're very young we learn our social acumen from being exposed to and interacting with groups of people. We recognize the wider range of human emotions from seeing one another respond and adjust to the world around us. School, work, the subway, grocery stores, and your family accumulate social behavior from learned interaction with one another in order for an orderly and peaceful unfolding to exist.
Secondly, human interaction is fundamentally singular, and our one on one relationships ground our ability to care, connect, understand, and relate to one another.
School is our first experience of sustained interactivity that introduces us to the behaviors and emotional fabric of another human being outside of our family. And, by age eight-that's third grade-how we're perceived, whether we're liked, and how we navigate interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts with our peers become slightly more valued than the opinions our family members. Our image of who we are begins to deviate from the references of home and adopts the input from our classmates and teachers.
Therefore, it is in elementary school that this fundamental ethos of human interaction be introduced and sustained.
If we as a society are to erase our divisions and replace conflict with understanding, it is this statement of fundamental civility and consideration that will begin the process. And it has to be placed where children and families can see it. Daily.
And here's just a short list of things that will be affected by this change: Racism. Bullying. Fighting. Selfishness. Laughing at another's pain or misfortune. Marginalizing the Poor.
What we want for ourselves we will want for another. The Golden Rule addresses this.
Life will change for the better if this is taught at the primary school level and beyond.
In order for us finally live in a thoughtful, considerate, and compassionate society, without the distinct political and philosophical differences that underscore the divisions in our world, this statement of equity and peace may be our last hope.