Some of you may know that my grandma (Mom's mother) spent her last years with us. To read the story of my Mom's childhood and how my grandma got to live with us, go here: In Memoriam. Anyway, my Mom was given the task of distributing grandma's inheritance to everybody. Grandma had worked all her life as a food seller in a traditional market in Indonesia (this is also the job that my Mom still does until now), so she had plenty of belongings.
My grandma died when I was still in High School. Back then I didn't understand the true value of my Mom's wisdom in distributing grandma's inheritance, but now it truly amazes me.
You see, Mom has 5 elder siblings, one of whom had died years before grandma did. When grandma was sickly and dying, she asked my Mom to promise her to give some specific jewelleries to one of her daughters-in-law. Mom remembered that promise, so she gave them away to her after grandma died. But what about the rest of grandma's belongings? She had her own fridge, her own cabinet, her own cupboard, her own plates, pans, table, kettles, cups, tea service set, etc.
Mom knew that if she didn't distribute them fairly and wisely, some of the siblings or spouses may be suspicious or disgruntled. So she decided to write everything down on a piece of paper. The list went like this:
1. A set of tea service.
2. A fridge.
3. A table.
4. Two diamond earrings.
5. Two silver belts.
6. A cupboard.
7. A dozen of bowls.
Then she wrote down each number along with the items' names on small pieces of paper and rolled each of them. She made sure that there would be equal number of pieces of paper for all six of them. I don't remember whether in the end there were 24 rolled pieces of paper or less or more than that. Then on a certain date, she gathered everybody and asked them to grab the rolled pieces of paper from a big bowl, one at a time until all the rolled pieces of paper were distributed. As a rule, she stated that nobody could protest since it was they themselves who chose the rolled pieces of paper.
Even so, one of them complained after getting some things that she didn't want, but Mom didn't care about it. After all, it was fair and square and everybody was there to witness it.
Six siblings with six different temperaments and characteristics (well, the dead brother was represented by his wife or daughter), yet Mom managed to do the right thing. I salute her!!! ;-D