Monday, May 20, 2013

the other four-letter "f word"

So I've been thinking....

I hate that word.
What I mean is, I love the real meaning of the word but hate the way we, as humanity, tend to understand that concept. I think oftentimes the word fair and the word equal are understood to be the same thing. Or are misunderstood to mean the same thing, rather. In reality, they have about as much in common as the word "wood" and "cornucopia." Two different things. In fact, often times true fairness is anything BUT equal.
If I give my my boys and I serving sizes of chocolate for a treat in a way that is fair, Liam would get a small piece, Roman a slightly larger one, and myself a much larger chunk. {Duh. Note to self: I always get the largest chunk of chocolate, boys. Life survival lessons 101.) If I'm being fair, I would give portion sizes that are in direct proportion to each of our sizes. Liam shouldn't have the same amount of chocolate that I do! Not only would it be unhealthy for his little body, it would be unhealthy for him...if you see where I'm going with that. (If you don't, I mean I'd take him out. Brotha won't be havin' nunna mama's brown magic.)
But it's so easy to think that fair means "the same." It's easy to fall into that trap! My mom heart wants Roman to know I love him as much as I love Liam, which means my instinct is to spend the same amount of money on them at Christmas or give the same gift, etc. But that's setting them up for failure!
If we believe fair to mean equal, I know from personal experience that it messes with our understanding of the way God gives gifts. I know from personal experience that it can steal joy when watching a friend be blessed with something we aren't. It can mess with our marriage if we are frustrated feeling our day was more challenging, or that we can't enjoy receiving gifts of time/money/etc from our spouse because we didn't do it for them....     Fair. It gets so ugly.
I am working hard to teach my children that fair means getting what is best for them, not what is equal to others. And darn it, I hope they learn it.
Actually, maybe I should steal ALL of the chocolate in the spirit of teaching .... I think yes.


  1. "fair means: getting what is best for them, not what is equal to others" on, Lauren! And chocolate!!...Hard one to be fair with! ;)

    1. Tiffany! Loved your blog, btw. :)

      you know how it goes...i am NOT fair with chocolate. Mama only goes so far. Thanks for the shout out!

  2. Fair... Wow. I needed this tonight.

  3. Fair is so hard to teach (I teach first). Why does she get a snack and I don't? That's not fair. Well, she is diabetic and you're not. I have a sign that says "fair doesn't mean everyone gets the same: fair is everyone gets what they need" thanks for the reminder!

    1. Suzy, I love that you have a sign up in your classroom with the same sentiment.How fortunate your students are, that they get to be in an environment where that is treasured. :) I'm still learning it in my own life application, so they are a step ahead of me if they are able to learn it so young. Thanks for teaching and making our world a better place!