Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers. ~Charles W. Eliot

Sunday, December 12, 2010

"It's not fair"

So, Friday's post got me into a little trouble at home. To be clear, each one of my daughters defies any restrictive label and each has too many astounding dimensions and attributes to list on a blog. Having stepped into one of those "how come you said so much about her/what about me/it's not fair" situations, it seems only right that today's post should focus on that vile three-word phrase: "It's not fair!" or, alternatively, its four word cousin,  "You're so not fair". Life is unfair, we tell our kids, full of injustice - so buck up! While this is true, I'm not sure it's the most helpful message to convey. What's so good about "fair" anyway? As a concept, it's pretty bland and unexciting. When it comes to kids, if we're not treating everyone the same way all the time, it's testament to the strength of and our respect for their individuality. At best, fairness seems to be a feeble level of expectation. I think we should aim higher. I have to believe it's far more worthwhile to strive for responsible and compassionate and informed when it comes to the way we treat people, rather than simply "fair". I remember when my beloved grandmother was living but not feeling her best and I'd ask how she was feeling, her answer would be "fair, just fair". It's not a word that's ever moved mountains for anyone. Next time my kids tell me that "it" is not fair, I think my answer will be, "Awesome!". I'm sure they'll look at me like I'm nuts but I'm equally sure I won't miss the opportunity to set a new course.

Anita Harper and Mary McQuillan's It's Not Fair is a nice way to get a child used to the unparalleled unfairness of a new sibling.

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