It has finally happened in my home. I’ll have to admit, I was a little shocked to hear it. I thought my kids were still way too young for this, but the other day those words escaped out of Talina’s mouth.
“But that’s not fair!”
My first thought was where she could have heard that? Every time my kids say something new and shocking I like to assume it came from outside the household. Generally not true, but that’s another blog.
My second thought was that I should let her in on a little secret – life is not fair!
What I ended up doing instead was sitting her down and asking her what she meant by that. It occurred to me that though she knew those words, it was doubtful she knew what they meant. When I asked her, she explained that she thought it wasn’t fair that Jarel got to go help Daddy and she didn’t.
So is it true? Was that not fair?
A while back I read some comments on a blog that was focused on being fair. Most of the parents commenting mentioned that being fair meant if one kid gets something, the other(s) do as well. Or if one went somewhere and the other wanted to go, then they went too. They all leaned towards the thought that being fair meant treating each child the same way. The same gifts, the same amounts, everything the same.
I have decided to challenge that thinking in my parenting. There are certainly times when my kids get the same thing. I mean, they all get the same meal for breakfast, lunch and supper. They all get the same snack each day. Lots of times it is fair for them to get the same thing.
However, is it fair for one child to get the same gift or opportunity as another just to keep the peace? I think not! It’s not fair to teach a child that just because someone else has something they should have it too. It’s unfair to give them the idea that all through life they should have the same “things” as everyone else. I don’t want to have kids who come home from school and say “all” their friends have a certain something, so they should have one too.
If I continually treat them this way in the home though, those are the results I can expect. I find this especially dangerous in regards to the body of Christ.
Too many believers spend so much of their walk with Christ wishing they had the same gifts, anointing and abilities that other believers have. They try to be someone they’re not – someone they were not created to be – in order to feel like they have those gifts too.
I’ve been challenging my kids to not covet their sibling’s possessions or opportunities, but to be happy for them instead. I tell them often that just because someone else has something, doesn’t mean they were meant to have it too.
I know this is working too! When we sat down to supper last night, Talina looked into Jarel’s bowl and noticed that he had a baby corn that was bigger than her own. First, in a pouty, sad voice she told me that Jarel’s was bigger than hers was. Then she stopped to think (without any prompting from me) and said “I’m happy that Jarel gets to eat the biggest one!”
If Jarel gets the opportunity to do something with Daddy that Talina is not invited to, she can be sure that the reason she is staying behind is because there is something equally important at home for her to do that she is much more suited for.
I want my kids to long for the things they were meant to have in life. To cultivate their gifts and anointings rather than wasting time wishing for someone else’s. I also want them to experience joy in watching others succeed.
God has given us all amazing gifts, talents and responsibilities in life. Mine are not the same as yours – no better, no worse – just different. Just like I’m teaching my kids, we need to stop wasting time wanting what God has given to others, and thinking it’s not fair when we try doing what they’re doing and it doesn’t work for us.
Because wasting the time we have on this earth trying to be something we’re not, and not fully realizing or living out all the amazing things God has planned for us – that is what’s not fair.