For this Teaching Tuesday, I thought I’d share a little lesson that I first gave to my U.S. Foreign Policy students way back when George W. Bush was president: How those in power can divide us by giving us a little of what we want.

Recently, I gave this lesson to my 7-year-olds. I didn’t even have to make the lesson any different for my kids to understand because it is such a simple lesson. (I did, however, use candy for my college students and money for my kids.)

Here it is:

  1. Sit down in front of your students/children with an overabundance of money (a handful of change works well for little ones) or candy (if that’s your thing).
  2. Ask your students/children if they would like you to share. (Of course they do.)
  3. Share. But share unequally. I gave one of my children 2 quarters and the other 1 penny. Make sure you keep most of it for yourself.
  4. The first reaction will be, “Hey, why did he/she/they get more than I did?”
  5. While they fight over who got more, you walk away with your stash.

Of course, the lesson does not end there. You then explain what you just did.

Then, and this is the best part, ask the question, “What could you have done differently?” When doing this with my kids, I expected them to say something like they could have shared, or asked me to give them equal shares.

The responses I got were surprising and warmed my heart so much. First, my son said that he could have just given all of his money to his sister. Then my daughter suggested that they could both give their money away to someone else. Finally, they agreed that they could just give the money back to me and go on with their lives.

Have you tried something like this with your children or students? Comment below and tell me what happened.

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