After giving birth to my twin girls Sam and Alex I signed up for the parenting course titled Siblings without Rivalry by Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish. It taught me many valuable lessons but one lesson that has been my mantra is “give according to individual needs”.
To treat my children equally was to treat them unfairly in many aspects of life. When the girls were younger they would be given hand me downs. I was fortunate that they enthusiastically accepted the clothing and together distributed them amongst each other based on fit, style and comfort. As a result one child may have received more clothing than the other. Therefore there were times when I would have purchased a new pair of pants, dress or jacket for only one child. The first time this occurred I certainly heard “that’s not fair!” “Why did she get a new sweater!” to which my reply was “because she needed one”. That was it. They understood. Likewise, when I find one child was struggling with life -usually reflected in an out of proportionate behaviour – I knew that she needed more of my attention in that time than the others. Life isn’t fair but we can teach our children through our words and actions that we can create an equitable life. This document provides some strategies for talking about equity: Equal Is Less.
Every Day is Malala Day Rosemary McCarney
The book is written as a letter from girls around the world to Malala, as they express their sympathy, sisterhood and admiration for her. These girls, too, know the barriers that stand in the way of a girl going to school. For some it is poverty, for others, early marriage, discrimination or violence. In Malala, they recognize a leader and a friend.
The Teddy Bear David McPhail
The Teddy Bear acknowledges the reality of homelessness without being heavy-handed or judgmental. For children who live in urban settings, the images of homelessness in the illustrations are likely to match their experiences — homeless men or women living out their basic day-to-day lives in public spaces. The Teddy Bear is a beautiful model for young children of empathy, compassion, and kindness, even from our youngest citizens.
Dear Willie Rudd Libba Moore Gray
Fifty years have passed since Miss Elizabeth was a girl, but she still remembers Willie Rudd, the black housekeeper who helped raise her. She remembers the feel of sitting in Willie Rudd’s lap while the housekeeper sang to her. And she remembers how Willie Rudd scrubbed the floor on her hands and knees. What would Miss Elizabeth say to Willie Rudd if she were alive today? She decides to write her a letter telling her how things would be different. Now Willie Rudd would come in the front door — not the back. She would ride in the fornt of the bus with Miss Elizabeth, and they could sit together at the movies. The two of them would have a wonderful time. And in her heartfelt letter, Miss Elizabeth has the chance to tell Willie Rudd something she never told her while she was alive — that she loved her.
I Love You the Purplest Barbara M. Joosse
Early in the evening two young brothers and their mama finish supper in the sturdy red cabin and set out to fish. While digging for worms, rowing the boat and pulling in fish, each brother asks his mama which one is the best at each task and, as they are being tucked into bed, which one she loves the best.
Equity or fairness can be challenging to explain to our children. Often the children like many adults associate fairness to be the same as something being equal.The band-aid exercise is a simple experiential exercise to try at home that helps to explain the difference between being treated fairly and being treated equally. This exercise works best with 4 or more people.
Have each person think of an injury or give each person an injury. Have them visualize what their injury would look and feel like. Next, give each person a band-aid. Place the band-aid on the back of each person’s hand. By this point you should hear some protesting of “That’s not fair!” to which you may respond that everyone needs to be treated equally and therefore each receive the same thing for their injury.
Here now is the opportunity for some discussion questions:
Was is equal that everyone got a band-aid?
Was it fair that everyone got a band-aid? Why or why not?
What else can band-aids be compared to?
The Fair Eggs-Periment
Clear drinking glass filled with one cup of water
1/4 Cup Salt
1. Carefully place the egg in the glass of water. Tell your kids that the egg (You may want to give it a name) represents someone who is not being treated fairly. The egg sinking to the bottom represents how someone who is left out or mistreated would feel – sad, depressed, defeated, unappreciated, and unloved.
2. Remove the egg from the water and set it aside.
3. Add salt to the water one tablespoon at a time. Stir in each spoonful and explain that the salt represents different ways they can show fairness towards others. Ask your child to give examples of showing fairness.
4. After you have added all of the salt, put the egg back in the water and it will now float!
Explain that now the egg is being supported with kindness and “held up” by the fairness and acceptance of others.