Even very young thinkers have big questions about fairness. It really doesn’t take long for little humans to realize that we don’t always get what we want (or what we need), and that the reasons behind the disparity aren’t always clear. Long before we can say words like “justice”, they’re rolling around in our heads and colouring our everyday activities.
Instead of telling them “Life’s not fair”, why not start a dialogue, and encourage some critical thinking? Here are some openings:
- Sports of all kinds (but especially the competitive ones) present a great opportunity to discuss fairness. Ask questions about who is included, how teams are picked, who makes the rules, and when exceptions and accommodations are needed.
- Family game night can also take a philosophical turn! Discuss the rules of your favourites, rewrite them, and then test them out. Get creative and make up your own games!
- How about deciding who eats that last piece of pizza? How do divide up a box of donut holes? Sharing a meal is a great opportunity to chat about fairness, and if your child is globally-minded, you can explore the ways that food and other resources are shared on a bigger scale.
Nope, we can’t really ensure that every situation our children find themselves in will be fair, but we can have some really amazing conversations about what fairness is, and with any luck, we can come up with suggestions for making things a little more fair. The best we can do is look for opportunities to discuss and learn.