Growing up I heard the word “fair” often, I use it with my children too. I tell them…
“It is important to be fair.”
“Take turns because it’s the fair thing to do.”
“Share your toys with your siblings because it’s the fair thing to do.”
“The fair thing to do is that everyone gets the same amount of everything in this home.”
Basically I try to teach my children to be fair. My mom worked hard to teach us to be fair too. What I didn’t know then and what my children have yet to find out is that almost nothing in life is fair. Now, I’m not trying to sound like a pessimist but think about it… while I work hard to teach my kids to be fair, the parent next door may be taking away from one child (unfairly) to give to the other, (unfairly) teaching them nothing about fairness and these are the children and later adults my children will meet and deal with in life.
So… how do I teach my kids about fairness? Do I tell them to be fair with each other but that if another child isn’t being fair to them that the gloves can come off and fairness can go out the window? Do I tell them to stay fair because it is the right thing to do even if nobody is being fair with them? Do I tell them they have to go through life being suckers to those that have little to no comprehension of the concept? Please don’t tell me to have them be the “better person” because that is another concept that a lot of people do not even begin to understand and just think it is an opportunity to take more, to abuse, to treat you like a sucker and to be… UNFAIR.
I see UNFAIR every day and everywhere. While one gets rich the other doesn’t even have enough to eat. While one gets to do all the work at a job, the other gets all the credit. While the one that works for minimum wage is carrying his load and a few others, the one making the big bucks simply delegates the work. While one works hard to get ahead, the other has life handed to them on a silver platter. And the biggest example of all on how life can be considered extremely unfair is how bad things happen to good people.
Nothing about life is really fair but it is such a wonderful concept for kids to learn and practice with each other even if as adults they are forced to face the rude reality that fairness isn’t always a reality. This concept can bring about a lot of problems in a childs future though. I see this in adults all the time. Not being able to understand why they are in a specific situation or why someone has done them wrong, or why life turned out to be a certain way when they know in their hearts that IT JUST ISN’T FAIR. Is this because the concept was introduced and it created this false expectation out of life only to be disappointed when realizing that things just aren’t always, if at all fair? These people are sad and some of them suffer from anger issues because their situation just isn’t fair and they have a hard time coping with that reality when they had always been told to “be fair”.
So I’m thinking that the approach I need to take on this whole FAIR concept is that I need to stay as fair as possible with my children. They always need to know that I love all three with the same intensity. They always need to know that All three of them are my life and my purpose in life. They need to know that I am the ONLY person in this life that will be as fair as possible with them and to them because I am their mother and because I love them the way I do but that NOTHING in life is fair and that they need to learn how to be strong enough to deal with that. I need to teach them not to let this bring them down, and that this is a reality. A reality they can say in the future that their mom spoke to them about in the past, a reality that their mom very much lived and did so gracefully. I think I can show them how to deal with something so real in a positive way for I live the perfect example about life not being fair and me… making my life a beautiful force to be reckoned with. I don’t think that learning that life isn’t always fair at an early age will make them abusive towards people as I believe that manners and compassion can work just as good as a “fair” can. I must teach them that not everyone has compassion and not everyone has respect. They must though! They must be kind to others. They must respect all people. They must care! BUT! They must not allow anyone to step on them and they must not sit there and take it. They must Move on! They must Get on with what they want to do in life and make their life a fair one for themselves. This is the concept I believe I want to teach my children and I think… It’s only fair that I do… 😉