Tag Archives: parents

Desert Dessert

Imagine that you are babysitting a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old. The parents have left some treats for dessert: two bananas, a lollipop, and an ice cream bar. The parents instructions were to allow each child to choose one treat. Unfortunately, both kids want the ice cream bar. How can you distribute the goods fairly? The easiest way would be to give them each a banana. But, neither wants a banana. Or, perhaps the older child should have first pick because she has more responsibilities. Or, perhaps the younger child should have first pick because he has less opportunities. Perhaps they should compete for first pick. But, that seems to give the older child an automatic advantage again. Perhaps you could split the ice cream bar in half, but then they should be allowed to split something else, and the only other thing they want is the lollipop, which is hard to split. As you can see, this is a complicated problem. How would you solve it?

Just the Way You Are

Imagine that it is the year 2050 and it has become popular to select children that are tall and have clear skin. Your parents, however, could not afford genetic selection, and you are short and have acne. Imagine further that you are the only person in your neighborhood who is short and has acne. How would you feel? When you ask your parents why you are the only person like you on the whole block, they respond that the neighbors had their fetuses tested. If the fetuses had genes that would cause the resulting child to grow up short with acne, they were aborted. Would this make you feel unwanted? Why or why not?