Children and being “fair”

by Rod Smith

To the point of being ridiculous my family went to painstaking lengths to be fair. I recall our seeing our parents measuring soft drinks in a glass, weighing or counting candy, and going through lengthy exercises to make everything fair. Calculating how much money was spent on each child at Christmas was an argument I clearly remember overhearing. Of course we grew up thinking life was supposed to be fair. Don’t you think that we want life to be fair and so we try to create a world within childhood where it at least seems to be fair? Should we not try to be fair to children at least so we do not inflict unnecessary pain in an already painful world? (Content of a discussion)

Rod’s response: No parent intentionally exposes children to the unfairness of life. This would be unnecessarily confusing in a world that is sufficiently confusing. But, the healthy family does not promote fairness as an absolute. In a healthy family, children know that sometimes a person might get the short, or the long, end of the stick. Win or lose, getting more of something or less of something, has nothing to do with love.

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