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mrshh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The Golden Rule states that a person should treat others in the way that they would want to be treated.  Atticus consistently teaches his children to live their lives in a way that follows the Golden Rule.  

Atticus is a man who has empathy for others.  He teaches his children to walk in the shoes of others when they are frustrated or mad at them.  For example, when Scout is frustrated because Miss Caroline punishes her, Atticus tells her to consider her teacher's perspective.  Her teacher is new to the area and does not know the way things are in Maycomb.

One night, a mob with ill intentions approaches Atticus, who is guarding Tom Robinson at the jail.  Scout spots Walter Cunningham, Sr. in the mob.  She is friends with his son.  Scout speaks to Mr. Cunningham with friendliness, and eventually he loses his desire to bother Atticus or Tom and tells the mob to leave.  Atticus talks to his children about this:

"...maybe we need a police force of children… you children last night made Walter Cunningham stand in my shoes for a minute.  That was enough" (To Kill a Mockingbird, Chapter 16).

He teaches Scout and Jem that other people who follow the Golden Rule will also treat others well.  He tells them that Mr. Cunningham had a change of heart and changed his mind.

 

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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