Having a 5 and a 3 year old in the house it’s a phrase we hear often – at bedtime, bath time, whenever food or toys are involved, and, well, just about every area of life. Answering with, ‘life’s not fair, get used to it’ is never helpful.
For my son and daughter, fairness is linked to things being equal, the same; fairness equals equality. Actually, it’s not only for my children, most of us share a similar understanding of fairness or at least it is deeply rooted within us; it’s our default understanding.
And yet is it true? Sometimes yes, but sometimes no.
While I was completing my masters degree exams were involved. Most of us sat in some big hall, in super straight lines, equidistant apart, in desk not made for comfort nor anyone who was not the statistical average size. But not all of my classmates were there, some were in a different room where they were given special considerations. One of classmates struggled with dyslexia and therefore was a much slower reader than I was, so she was given slightly longer time to complete the exam. Equal? No. Fair? I’d argue yes.
I don’t know how to explain this to my children yet, but I know it’s important. My sense is that it is also important in our adult lives, in our workplace, in the cultures we create.