Character Chats

Fairness and Following the Rules

Fairness and following the rules.

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character. I’m Master H, the owner chief instructor here at the studio. I have two master’s degrees in education and we’ve developed this curriculum to meet the needs of our youngest students, who are three or four, and our oldest student who is 85.

And this month we are talking about fairness, everybody getting what they need. Last week we kind of described it as portions on a plate. Sitting around the table we’ve got parents and kids of different ages. Do they all get the same size portion? Well, no, because that wouldn’t be fair. Somebody would be super hungry at the end or somebody would be super full at the end. So making sure that everybody gets what they need, and that’s a pretty straightforward way to describe it.

But today we’re talking about fairness and following the rules. And you see that come up, especially when kids are playing games. That wasn’t fair, they cheated, that kind of thing. So let’s use a couple of ideas that way. If we’re playing cards, War or something like that, what would be the fair thing to do? Shuffle a few extra times? Possibly. Not looking at your cards ahead of time? Quite possibly. Not looking over the shoulder of the person next to you? That would be cheating. That would not be fair. Absolutely. And so as we’re playing games, as we’re following those rules, it’s a matter of following the rules that keeps things fair.

Now, here at the studio, taking turns. If we’re practicing a particular technique, I’m not going to hog all of the time and not let my partner practice because that wouldn’t be fair. I haven’t given them a chance. Following the rules means we take turns, we share, we make sure that we both have an equal amount of time because we both need that time. So as we’re talking about those kinds of things, some rules are written, absolutely. Rules in school are written on the walls, on posters, things like that.

And some rules are not written. If we think about entering a grocery store, do we just barge ahead of everybody or do we take turns going through the door? I don’t see that written anywhere. And yet there is some common courtesy that takes place, that makes things fair and that makes it so that everybody gets what they need because we all need groceries, so let’s make sure we’re all taking care of what we need at the same time. So some things are written down and other things are just stuff that happens.

So as we practice fairness, as we look for things that we need, as we look for things that others need, we have to make sure that we’re also practicing that awareness. Is it fair of you to leave your things lying around the house for somebody else to pick up? Well, the obvious answer is no, that’s not fair. Why should somebody else pick up my mess? Very true statement. But a lot of us have left that stuff lying around, whether it was us leaving it lying around for our spouse to get or our kids having left it lying around for their parents to pick it up. I remember there was one time where I literally asked my kid 10 times to pick up the stuff that he had left in the middle of the kitchen. And I finally just picked it up and put it outside the door and he was like, what? I’m like, it’s fair. I don’t know where it goes, but it doesn’t go here so I put it somewhere else.

So when we’re getting what we need, it’s a matter of making sure that we are practicing that awareness of how we take care of each other, how we follow the rules, how we see our community, and make our world a much better, more fair place.

Thanks, and I’ll see you on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here. True Balance Karate is at 406 Ogden Ave Downers Grove Illinois, 60515 (next to CVS) Check out our Facebook!