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Equity, Equality + Three Wise Men

January 18, 2010

My wife and I have 3 truly wonderful boys who just happen to have the first initials, M, E and N.  As our 3 little “men” came into the world, one thing that struck everyone was how much they looked alike although they were born each 2 years apart.  Almost like triplets, 2 years apart, we say.  So, it was easy for me initially to want to fall into a pretty standard parenting trap.  I wanted to treat my kids equally in all respects.

Well, I failed.  I learned pretty quickly the important truth that I cannot treat my kids with equality.  It’s impossible.  Yes, they are very similar in many ways but they are different.  And, this shows as they get older and older.  Even recently, I was reminded how similar they are (and how much of me is in each of them).  But, it’s not always the same parts of me that they have and they have unique needs, strengths, desires, stories, histories, interests.

This taught me the interesting difference between equality and equity.  I cannot treat my kids equally but I CAN treat my boys with equity.  The concept of equity gives me the freedom to treat each of them fairly and justly while giving the amount of attention that each might need at the time.  To not do the same thing with each of them but to do what they want and need, what is appropriate for each of them.

So, what’s the learning point in this?  As you know, I like to see what I can learn as the joyney goes on.  Well, perhaps equality isn’t what we should be shooting for.  We are all different and want to be treated fairly and justly but that just might mean differently from the next person.  Think about that as it applies to your work, your sports teams, your family, your social groups.  Let’s go for equity.

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