A Story from Alan about Rights and Responsibilities

Helping on the farm

When I was a lad I was a bit like you. I didn’t want to be reading and writing. I liked to be outdoors.

My mum and dad had seven children, some of us were twins. I had a twin sister.

We lived on a farm. My dad had sheep, pigs and cows. My mum had chickens and ducks.

I loved helping dad on the farm. Dad used to give us jobs to do. I had to feed the pigs, greedy beggars they were! We fed them on Tottenham pudding. It came in big bins. It was the waste food from schools and hotels all boiled up together. I remember finding a teaspoon in it one day. My brothers all had jobs too. Dad said it was their responsibility to help him on the farm. Without their help he could not have done all the work he said.

The girls helped mum with the cooking and cleaning and the chickens. That was their responsibility.

One day my twin sister said she didn’t want to do the chickens. She said they were too noisy. Mum was cross.

“All right, if you don’t want to do the chickens, then you have no right to be eating their eggs.”

“I don’t care!” said my sister.

That day my mother made a lovely big sponge cake with cream and jam. My sister held out her plate for a piece.

“Oh, there’s none for you. You don’t eat eggs. Now do you?”

My sister went red and ran out of the room in tears. That night, just before dark, she said

“Mum I’m just going to put the chickens to bed. Okay?”

Mum smiled. “I think we’ve got some cake left,” she said.


What responsibilities did the boys in the family have?

What responsibilities did the girls in the family have?

Can you tell us about any responsibilities that you have?

Alan’s mum said his sister had no right to eat eggs if she didn’t help with the chickens,

That was a right that was agreed in the family.  Can you think of any rights like that? 

There are also human rights – like everyone has a right to food, shelter and clean water. Can you think of any more rights that you think everyone should have?

What rights do we have at college?

What responsibilities do we have at college?