Fairness is the word of the week in our character development series. Before we begin, I need to remind you that life isn’t fair. This is not a post about how life is always fair, and I make sure my kids know that. What I do teach them is that we need to try and make it fair with our voice and our actions. God is a God of justice. He cares about the treatment of others. He defends the poor and the needy. Someday it will all be put right. Until then, he put believers on the earth who should live out his end purposes. So, while life isn’t fair, we need to work in our lives to put others before ourselves.
Today I wanted to give my kids the tools for helping to make fair decisions. They will be interacting with people in a variety of ways and it is important to have to find ways to navigate and negotiate. These may be basic to you but not our kids. This just helps equip them as they navigate fairness.
Rock, Paper, Scissors
One option when there are different ideas on the table is the classic game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. If you are unfamiliar with this game, here’s a link to a Wikipedia article to help you. The basic rules are that on the count of three you do a hand motion for rock, paper or scissors. To pick the winner, rock beats scissors, scissors beat paper, paper beats rock.
One Cuts, One Chooses
The next tool I wanted to give is the option to divide food (usually) in a fair way. This is the thought that one person gets to cut and then the other person gets to choose. The person ultimately tries to cut very equally.
Flip a Coin
Another fair way to make a choice between two ideas is to flip a coin. One person calls heads or tails while the coin is in the air.
If you have dice, roll them. Highest number wins.
Pick a Number
Have one person pick a number. The person who guesses closest to that number gets their choice.
One choice that is my favorite to teach others is to sacrifice what they want for other people. It is something we work on really hard in this family, and I can’t tell you how good it feels when I see someone putting another before themselves. This one is probably the one of the most important tools you could teach. In our family, the oldest has some seniority. You can click back to learn more about it, but we essentially try and teach our kids to be servant leaders, sacrifice self and consider others. The Bible teaches that we die to self as we follow Christ. This is a great model for that.
Run Self Checks
It is important for you to teach your kids to run self-checks. My oldest likes to run things around here. I have to often ask her if she is being a servant leader or a dictator. Every once in a while it is important to do a self-check. How long have we been playing what I want to play? How many times have I made the choice about what we are going to do? How many times have I chosen the show to watch? How many times have I chosen my favorite? Teaching kids to think back and try and evaluate these things helps them become more self-aware of their behavior.
Teach kids they can make a choice to do all ideas on the table. Set a timer for them. We will do what you want to do for 15 minutes and then what I want to do for 15 minutes. They can take turns between ideas and everyone can be happy and feel validated.
Dividing up an Uneven Number
Kids have a choice when they divide up something like toys or candy and there isn’t an equal amount for everyone. What do they do? They can give the other one away to others. They can choose to just have equal amounts and ignore whatever makes it uneven. One person in the group can sacrifice. They could go to any of the other tools I’ve given today to decide who gets it.
Do you have any more ideas I have neglected to remember? Let me know.