Character Chats

What is Fair Share?

What is a fair share?

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

And this month we were talking about what fair is. Everyone getting what they need. And we started off defining what it was, and then we were talking about what it looks like when we’re playing a game or here at the studio or at school or at home. We’re taking turns and making sure people get what they need. They’re practicing well. And then last week we talked about fighting fairly, not using hurtful words, thinking before you speak, that kind of thing. And so we’ve described it as portion sizes on a plate.

Parents don’t eat the same amount as their kids do, and what does that look like? But this week we’re talking about fair share, which is actually more along the lines of everybody getting an equal amount, right? I like food so let’s talk about that. If we’re talking about a fair share of food, you have a plate of cookies, 12 of them if you will, and there are four of you and you all want a cookie. Well, if there’s 12 of them, you can each have three. Now you have shared them fairly amongst yourselves because we all get the same amount. Group projects at school. Well, if we’ve all taken a section of the project, we are all doing our fair share of the project. We are all taking care of that thing. And if one person doesn’t do it, the whole group has the consequence of the grade because we have to do our fair share.

When my kids were first starting to stay home alone, one of the stipulations was that they had to do some of their chores. They had to do not just their chores, but these were extra chores. They had to have something that they had to do while we were gone. Five-minute task like sweep the floors or empty the dishwasher or something like that. And we’d leave them a list. And it was their fair share of what they needed to do so that they continued to have that particular privilege of staying home. And it taught them time management skills because we didn’t care when it got done. It just had to be done before we got home. It taught them how to divide them up fairly because we would put the list down and there was always an even number because there were two kids and then they had to divide it between the two of them. So they each had a fair amount of things to do.

So it taught them those types of responsibility skills along the way. And one would do it right before we left. And the other I would watch him running around the house doing it as we walked in the door. However, they kept the privilege of staying home alone. So as we’re talking about our fair share, this is when we’re talking about it being equal, we all have a stake in this particular thing. Similarly, we’re having a party. We all have to work together to clean the house. Now we’re all doing our fair share, we’re all taking care of it at the same time. And so as we’re talking about fairness, there are times where everybody gets exactly what they need. Because what you need today is not what I need today. And sometimes it’s a give and a take and a back and a forth, and sometimes it is where it’s equal.

And we are both getting the same opportunity at the same time, both of which demonstrate fairness. Sometimes when we clash, when we have those disagreements, that is when our fairness turns into resolving it correctly, apologizing in the right way, owning up to that mistake and vowing to not do it again, right? Because that’s fair. If you have learned and then you know better.

If you see something that you can problem solve or work towards a solution on, then you know better and you can do better next time. And that’s the greatest gift in having our awareness, having our eyes open, seeing what people need and seeing what we need so that it becomes this give and take, this back and forth, or this equal opportunity of sharing amongst ourselves. So I hope you’ve enjoyed our discussion on fairness this month. Keep demonstrating those skills for the rest of the year.

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!