“But that’s not fair!”
If you are a parent of more than one child, it is a guarantee that you will hear these words escape at least one of your children’s mouths sometime in their life. If your children are like mine, you may hear it multiple times.
More than likely what your child is actually saying is “This is not equal.”
Many parents will respond with a comment along the lines of, “Life’s not fair,” and leave it at that.
Fair indicates that each person receives what they need or what they have earned.
Equal means that everyone receives the same item, same treatment, same privilege.
Taking my football loving son to a football game while his siblings who do not enjoy the game stay home is not equal. Taking each of them to an event that equally thrills them, is fair.
Purchasing a new backpack for one child who needs one for school, and not the others whose previous ones are still intact is not equal. Making certain that each child has what they need at that time, is fair.
One child having access to screen time, while another is not allowed is not equal. Having guidelines each child is set to follow, with rewards and punishments accordingly is fair.
Our kids need to learn the difference.
Yes, it is true that life is not fair. Life is not equal either.
Saturday we finished up our school shopping for this year. The day provided ample opportunity to discuss fair and equal. Some kids needed new clothes all around, and some are completely stocked. Explaining that to a child over and over is difficult at times.
If the lessons are not learned, we carry these complaints into adulthood.
Life is not fair, we hear it all the time.
If we have an understanding that individuals receive what they have earned, what is theirs, and not always what is equal, it is easier for us to come to grips with it.