We were at a family event recently and Helena and her cousins did a treasure hunt, Helena having the most dogged determination to finish this in the dark… various adults who knew she would not give up did try to help. Eventually they got to have the prize which was getting a handful of lollies from the jar. One cousin put both hands in and got the most lollies, all different flavors. Helena wasn’t too worried as her expectation was that they would pool the lollies and share them out by colour. They did pool them then an adult suggested they would take them out randomly. Helena got very very upset, and this was before anyone chose. I was not the adult in control. Helena got several explanations on how all of them were going to get random so therefore it was the same. Possibly the adult felt the children couldn’t handle the conflict of there possibly being an undivideable number of one colour. I know Helena can do this. I am also sure that the adult couldn’t see the difference in the issues and thought that if Helena made a fuss about random she would make make a fuss about not getting what she wanted in the division. There was a general encouragement of the idea Helena makes a fuss if she doesn’t get her own way, that confirmation bias of false beliefs of only children. (When I find the reserch which debunks this I’ll place it here). I did stand up and confirm for Helena that her way was more fair. This was brought up again in the morning as Helena did not take her lollies, the only power she had was removing herself. Here is the logic that Helena could not express. Random is unfair. It presumes all desires are equal. It is the backbone of lotto culture and the false belief that we come into the world and all have equal opportunity for success. It confirmed that others define what is important. The allocation of resources IS hard and does take time and should involve consultation especially involving the usually unrepresented. It is something we should encourage children to do, they will need these skills. I know these were just lollies and such a small event but they highlighted deep underlying philosophy and I am so proud of my child’s understanding. These small things are important because they effect how our children will approach the big things like access to education, food, housing… and that means knowing that somethings are more important to others than us and ultimately that resource allocation is aiming for equity not a random version of equality.
Later one of Helena’s friends helped themselves to her lollies and after initial anger she said “I’ll forgive you if you just tell me that you did it”. So proud.