A Child’s View of Fairness

To a child, things are fair when everyone gets the exact same thing.

A mature definition of fairness is when everyone gets what they need depending on who they are and where they are at.

It’s interesting that most schools are managed and created by adults who choose to look at the child’s way of interpreting fairness.

We’re visiting family in Colorado, nursing my dad back to health after back surgery. His kids are the same age as mine (9, 6 and 6) and there has been a lot of talk about how things aren’t fair. Part of learning around kids that are different ages is that kids learn that fairness is not just about everyone getting the same thing at the same time. And part of learning in a zen-schooling or unschooling environment, where everyone gets what they need when they need it, instead of when the adults around them think they need it, is that kids (and parents) learn, and live, the mature definition of fairness.

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5 Responses to “A Child’s View of Fairness”

  1. Sheri Says:

    I once wrote,

    Equality does not create balance, it is balance that creates equality.

    In this case, I think balance could easily be changed to fairness.

    I agree wholeheartedly that if the public school system opted for a more adult view of fairness or balance, it would be much better equipped to deal with the differences between people’s learning styles and needs.

  2. Linda Says:

    You ladies sure are smart. I wish I could come up with stuff like this. For now I guess I’ll just have to be happy that I can understand it when you come up with it!

    My husband and I have talked about how a lot of times this “everyone gets the same things/treatment” line is merely for efficiency. I mean, unschooling is great and all, but super-inefficient if you’re dealing with a large group of kids, right? Likewise, not so efficient to run any government program based on true fairness.

    Thanks for making me think, once again.

  3. tobeme Says:

    Tammy,
    Great observation. I like your defintion of mature fairness. Wish more parents and educators applied this definition. We would have children and adults who are not inclined to claim entitlements so quickly.

  4. Summer Says:

    Definitely a brilliant observation.

  5. cyndi Says:

    hello tammy,
    i love your blog. arun from the parenting pit directed me to it a few weeks ago. it`s chock full of great stuff. i`m rather new to unschooling/homeschooling so i`ve found your blog very insightful. thank you.


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