A story about ‘Fairness’ for children of 11-14 years, (young teens) requested by ‘hint’ via my comments box.
This story came from a Lady in the Philippines.
Wen wants a laptop
My story is about two young people, Don and Wen. Don is a boy of 13 and his sister Wen is 12. They live in a small block built house in the suburb of a large city in the Philippines.
Their father is a business man. He works very hard buying and selling foods. He buys in bulk and sells in smaller amounts to the street traders. He has a battered van which has many colours on its body. The bonnet is green, one door is red and another is blue. This roof and frame of the van are yellow, which is the colour of the original vehicle. Over the years parts have been damaged and replaced so that now it is multicoloured. The traders know the children’s dad as Mr Multi, which is not his real name.
When they are not at school they help their father with either delivering food or breaking up the bulk containers and weighing out smaller quantities. Don loves to help with the deliveries. He is a strong lad and can lift and carry quite heavy loads. Wen likes to stay at home and weigh out the food, helping her mother with this important work.
Mr Multi works well into the evenings but he does not let Don come with him after eight at night.
‘You are growing. You need plenty of rest and sleep. You can go home now,’ he says.
The family have a good life. They have each other and do not go hungry. They have a roof over their heads and a store for their bulk goods. Their dog Dino is in charge of protecting the store from those who might want to steal the food. He has big teeth and a fierce growl.
Mr Multi uses a notebook and pen to record his orders and deliveries. His wife thinks that a computer would be better but he tells her that they can’t afford one, and says he doesn’t make mistakes using the old fashioned method of pen and paper.
The children learn how to use the computer in school. They do not have many computers but somehow the children get enough time and instruction to learn how to make files and how to use spread sheets. For business people spread sheets are very useful for making complicated calculations. Wen in particular likes using the computer. She gets to be very good at it so that the teacher asks her to write up reports and to make posters to advertise activities to the rest of the school.
One day Wen asks her father ‘Dad, I’m really good at the computer you know. Look at this poster I made, can we buy a laptop now? Please, please, please! I think it would help the business.
Wen’s dad says ‘That’s a really good poster you have made, Wen, but you don’t realise how much it would cost me to have a computer. I would have to get a printer too and an internet connection. As you know, we can’t even afford a land line. I don’t see how we could afford it all. Anyway I suspect you would spend your time on it instead of helping your mother, then where would we be?’
‘Oh Dad, it’s not fair! Lots of kids at school have lap tops. Well, some do. Surely if they can afford it we can too?’
‘You have no idea what other people spend their money on. Everyone has to make their own decisions. Life isn’t ‘fair’ as you put it. Everyone is different. Not everyone is lucky enough to have a lovely grandmother and grandfather. We are lucky and we are very happy to look after them. We spend our money on what is important to us, if other people make different decisions that is up to them.’
‘Oh Dad, I didn’t mean we shouldn’t look after Grandma and Granddad. I never thought of that!’
‘Of course you didn’t, Wen, you are still learning about life. Young people have certain ideas about fairness which can be very useful, like when you are sharing things out with your friends. But when it comes to the bigger picture life can seem very unfair. There is no point in getting upset about it. Sometimes we can change things and sometimes we just can’t. How about we weigh out that bag of rice between us now?’
What can ‘Fairness’ mean? Can you think of some different examples?
Does this story remind you of anything in your life?
Explore the idea of fairness within the family.
Do you think everything could be ‘fair’. How would that change the world? Is it likely to happen? How would you cope with it?