Monday, February 3, 2014
It's Not Fair!
My kids and I had a conversation this week about fairness among siblings. They have a lot of friends, and they see that everyone has a different parenting style. One such difference are those parents who have to make sure everything is "even steven" among their kids. If one person gets a gift, then they all have to get a gift, etc. As we talked about that, I shared with my children why I don't play the fair game with them. In just a few short years, they are going to be out in the world, living an adult life. We only get "about" 18 years to get them ready for the next 80. I take that very seriously, wanting to make sure that my kids are very well prepared. When they get into their adult life, and they go to college or get a job, nothing is going to be fair. Their bum co-worker is going to get promoted because he took all the credit for their hard work. Somebody is going to cheat off of their paper and they will be the ones to take the heat for it. They will have to work very hard to pay the bills and put food on the table while others don't lift a finger and have everything handed to them. Life is not fair. If we don't teach our children this fact from the very beginning, we are setting them up for a life of discouragement and defeat. In our home, we have purposefully done things differently for each child from the time they were born. For example: When I am out running errands, I might pick something up at the grocery store for one of my kids because it is just a perfect and affordable "just because" gift for them. I don't get the other kids anything that day. Another example: We do not set age requirements for privileges. Peter got a phone when he turned 11. That does not mean that the girls will get a phone when they're 11. Bethany just turned 11, and did not get phone service. She did however, get my old Iphone when she was 10 because it's just how it worked out. Chloe has nothing yet. Life's not even, life's not fair. Is it difficult sometimes to teach this lesson? Absolutely! There are days that I want to cave and go buy Chloe an Ipod so she doesn't feel left out. But if I do that now, she will go on expecting people to cater to her and make things "fair" in her mind for the rest of her life, and I love her too much to let her go into adulthood with that mindset. Life isn't about being fair. Wanting things to be fair is a very self-centered way of looking at life.
This satisfied my children's questions, until the next time they think something isn't fair. I just try to make sure my children know that we do what we do for their good, not just to make them miserable. So far, they seem to appreciate it as much as a 10, 11, and 12 year old can!