At work recently, I have been thinking about some tough issues. Weighing the balance of the good for the many verses the good for the one is something that seems to come up over and over in residential work. Often at the CRC, our last effort to curb negative behavior of a youth is to "punish" the group. This often means taking away the T.V. or not being able to go on an outing, because one youth is acting out negatively. This is always a tough decision, because it is hard to punish the many because of the behavior of the one.
An even more difficult weight that sometimes must be balanced is in looking towards a youth that really needs a lot of help, support, and love. These youth that need more time spent working with them, sometimes take staff's time away from the other youth. One particular youth often required one to one staffing (something that was unthinkable from my times at Jubilee). While it is great to pour that much attention into one youth, sometimes I feel like I haven't had time to come and give to the other youth at the facility. This youth has also displayed behavior that could be harmful to the other clients (bullying and threatening).
It can be very tough to know that one person really has a lot of need, and wanting to help them as much as possible. But to at the same time, understand that there is a need to help as many as possible. Maybe even be able to focus more on youth who are receptive and willing to work on issue. I guess it can be broken down into two ethical fields of thoughts. That of utilitarianism and of Kantian ethics. I believe it is much too early in the morning to spend time getting into the specifics of the arguments.
What do you guy's believe is the best way to judge if one ought to work with the one at the expense of the many or the many at the expense of the one?