“It’s Not Fair !”
Have you ever heard those words uttered in your home? Have you heard them at your office? It’s commonly thought and said by people of all ages. I’ve muttered those words myself…It’s not fair, it’s just not fair.
If life were fair then chocolate ice-cream would have the same calorie count as carrot sticks and we all would grow old and never have struggles. Everyone could afford first class seats on airplanes and front row seats at concerts. No child would ever be hungry or not have the opportunity to be educated. Reality check – life is not fair. Not even close.
So how do we live within the grace of that knowledge and teach our kids that even though life is not fair, it is still amazing and God is in control, we are not, and that’s a good thing?
From and early age we all develop a sense of what is fair or unfair. The idea of fairness is quite subjective. Even though the concept of fairness is simple, applying this in real life proves to be difficult. It is inevitable that someone draws the short straw, gets the small piece of pie, the lesser advantage. We are born with a strong sense of fairness – any grade school child can confirm that. “ She got more chocolate milk than I did” – please tell me my sister and I weren’t the only children to squabble over and measure glasses side by side to make sure all was fair in the world.
We would like to think as adults that this is all just childish, we have outgrown such notions, but don’t we do the same thing? We see God blessing someone who’s isn’t nearly as “mature” as we think we are spiritually and it seems unfair. Why does the neighbor make so much money? They aren’t as smart or dedicated as we are. Why does Johnny start as quarterback when my son worked so hard? You hear it all the time and if we are all honest we have thought those same thoughts. Guess what? You are human and this is normal. Not always great but nonetheless, normal.
So how can we help our kids with this concept of fairness?
I think it is important to first understand what fairness is:
Fairness is playing by the rules, taking turns, sharing and listening.
Fair people don’t take advantage of others.
People who treat others fairly consider all sides before making decisions and they don’t blame others when things don’t go their way.
The best way to help our kids with this is to teach them what fairness is. Talk about it, enforce fairness within your family dynamics, and most importantly model it for them.
9 Do’s and Don’ts to model for our children to help them understand fairness:
- Do treat all people fairly.
- Don’t take advantage of other people’s mistakes.
- Do listen closely to all sides of the story and try and understand how the other person is feeling.
- Don’t try and prove that your way is the best way of doing things.
- Do consider all the facts, including opposing views, before making your final decision.
- Don’t take more than your fair share.
- Do use the same criteria and standards for everyone in the family.
- Don’t let personal feelings interfere with decisions that should be based on merit.
- Do admit when your wrong and correct your mistakes.
At the end of the day we all will find ourselves in situations we deem to be unfair. Fairness doesn’t mean the pie is always divided equally but we can trust that God does the dividing and that his plan is the best.
The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.
Proverbs 16:9 ESV
By Sherri Crandall
Wife to Rusty, Mom of 4
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member
Associate Director of Women’s Ministry at Mission Hills Church