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What is just, doesn’t always have to be right To each according to his needs

kidsparents2 yearschild3 yearsFeuilletonchildrenkidLenka Míkovcová4 years5 yearsrightfaircorrectcaterpillarto be justelephantneedscrayonbreak apart

I am standing in the kitchen cooking and suddenly I hear in a piercing voice from the table: “But you have more crayons than me! That’s unfair; I want to have just as many.” I glance over and see a struggle beginning over crayons. Kryštof is attempting to capture as many crayons as possible and Eli is already in tears, ready to bite. I break them apart and try to describe the situation: “I see you have a bit of a disagreement over some crayons.” Kryštof responds: “She has more of them, I only have red!” I respond: “So you need more colours?” There is silence. Kryštof is thinking and then confesses: “No, I’m drawing a red car, I need red.” Eliška was drawing a rainbow so she needed six colours.

I took a moment to think and then said: “Well what’s fair doesn’t have to be correct.” Kryštof looked at me and didn’t understand. I kicked my brain into high gear and got out the best example I could at the moment.

Look, Kryštof, imagine that a caterpillar and an elephant are hungry. You give each of them one juicy green leaf. The caterpillar will eat it and the hunger is gone. What do you think about the elephant? Is one leaf enough to satisfy his hunger?

Another momentary silence and then an answer: “It’s not enough.” Kryštof understood! And so I added. “Each of them has one leaf so that it is fair, but it’s not enough for the elephant, he needed an entire basket of leaves to satisfy his hunger. Then it would be right. It’s the same with drawing. For you and Eliška to draw the picture each of you want—you only need red for your car, while Eliška needs six different colours to draw her rainbow.


Original recommendation**: „Instead of being afraid you can’t treat your children equally, focus on the needs of each child. Children don’t have to be absolutely equal. Each of them has the right to feel unique.”

** translated from the Czech version of the book

  • [Respektovat a být respektován (Respect and be Respected), Jana Nováčková, Dobromila Nevolová, Taťjana Kopřivová, Pavel Kopřiva - Spirála, 2008]

Author: Lenka Míkovcová

Translation: Marek Hubbell


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