Character Chats

What is Fairness?

What is fairness?

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 and chief instructor here at the studio, and I have two master’s degrees in education. 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.

Today, we are talking about fair, everyone getting what they need. That’s how we kind of describe it to the younger kids because you’ll often hear a kid go, “That’s not fair,” about something, because if it’s not fair, it is wrong in their world. The easiest way to describe what fair would be, would be for them to picture sitting around the dinner table. You’ve got your parents, you’ve got your siblings, maybe younger siblings, maybe older siblings, and does everybody get the same size piece of food or the same size plate with the same amount of food on it?

That would be absolutely ridiculous. Should our parents eat the same amount of food as the five-year-old eats? They would be super hungry. Should the five-year-olds eat the same amount of food as the parents? Their bellies would be super full. When we’re talking about fair, we’re talking about everybody getting what they need. Portion size is a great way of illustrating this idea, if you will. A lot of times we’ll hear kids talking about it’s not fair when they’re talking about having played a game, at which point we’re talking about playing fairly means following the rules.

Playing fairly means making sure that we’re taking turns, that we’re sharing, that we’re doing all of those good, respectful, positive things, and what do we need to make sure that the game continues to go the way the game is supposed to go. When we’re talking about what is fair, we’re talking about everybody getting what they need. How much sleep we need, it’s not fair for somebody to get three hours of sleep and somebody else to get eight hours of sleep. Making sure we get exactly what it is that we need.

And so as we talk about what fair is this month, we’re going to talk about problem solving. We’re going to talk about playing games. We’re going to talk about what people need. We’re going to talk about charities and helping those in need and that kind of thing. We’re going to talk about all these different things that go along with being fair because we’re just trying to make the world a better place. We want to make sure that we’re showing respect and compassion to those around us.

We want to make sure that we are taking care of everybody and making sure that we do give them what they need and that we also get it as well because it is like two sides of a coin, taking care of people, making sure we’re also taking care of ourselves. I’m not saying it’s all about me. I’m saying it’s all about us as a community as a whole. That’s where fairness comes in, making sure we’re all getting exactly what we need.

As we talk about this with our younger kids, we illustrate it with sitting around the dinner table. As we’re talking about it with our adults and things like that, it becomes more of a deep ideal than anything else. What is fair, when you wind up talking about directions and ideals and what’s the greater good and what can be the most benefit to the greatest amount of people? So then it becomes a meeting of opinions, if you will, and compromising, because sometimes being fair also involves compromising so that people get what they need.

This month, it is going to be lots of interesting, fantastic conversations regarding fairness. I’m looking forward to it.

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!