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"That's NOT Fair!"

If you have children, I’m sure you’ve heard this expression before. Even as adults there may be times when we think, “That’s not fair”. Some of us may even say it out-loud. All of us are aware that some things in life aren’t fair; but we have to learn to live and thrive with whatever set of circumstances we have been given.

Let’s take a look at fairness from the perspective of teaching children. When you are teaching your children do you try to make everything as fair as possible? If so, how do you do this? Do your children show jealously if a sibling or another student has different expectations for a certain project than herself/himself? Do your children compare their strengths and weaknesses to one another? Do they want everything to be equal – exactly the same? I hope I’m not the only mother that has these problems from time to time. Take a minute to think about the following quote from Rick Lavoie, author and advocate for students with learning differences.

“Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing. It means giving every child what they need.”

Most often, children understand fair to mean equal or exactly the same. If Timmy gets 12 M&M’s then Cara will count hers to make sure she gets exactly 12 M&M’s too. Children don’t want to be treated differently (unless it’s in their favor) from their siblings because they view this as being treated unfairly. This is part of human nature. Beyond M&M’s, children need to be told that they are unique and special individuals worthy of love AND different treatment. There is no person exactly like them and that is exactly why they will have different treatment from time to time. Things may not be perfectly equal…but they will be fair.

This concept will lead us into a discussion about giving accommodations to students who struggle with learning and paying attention.  What do you think?   Are accommodations fair?  More to come next week!

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