The Fairest in the Land

Gavel 2“Mom, sister won the game; it’s not fair!”

My children seem to have an unrealistic vision of what fair is. They seem to think that fair is whatever they like or seems best to them. This often leads to trouble between the siblings and, on occasion, between them and I.

Sometimes our kids think, for example, that if one of them gets dessert, they should get dessert, whether or not they’ve eaten all their dinner. It is a popular misconception that “fair” means everyone receives the same thing. However, what it really means is that equal people should be treated equally. Fairness is often conditional on something else. To return to my example of dessert, the condition would be that if you eat dinner, you get dessert. So being treated fair here, means that the rule is applied equally. So that getting dessert is conditioned upon finishing one’s dinner.

Exactly what does it mean to be fair? According to the handy dictionary, it means to be in accordance with the rules or standards; just or appropriate to the circumstances; without cheating or trying to achieve unjust advantage. Biblically, it means to be just.

Justice means to behave according to what is morally right. Receiving justice is to receive what is earned (whether for good or ill).

In our homeschooling, I need to make sure that my children know the rules and standards. If they are not being made aware of their goal, it would be unfair for me to expect achievement.

In our training and discipline, again it is necessary that our children know the rules and standards. I should also make sure that the consequences are appropriate to the “crime”. If I am too heavy handed, my children will rebel. If I am too gentle the children will walk all over me; not taking their consequences seriously.Gavel 2

In their relationships, I need to ensure that my children are never allowed to cheat or abuse their siblings; taking advantage of their size, strength, or knowledge to gain something over another.

When my children holler about their injustices, I walk them through the definition and try to point out its true meaning. When an injustice has been done, we correct the issue and try to prevent further abuse. When there is a misinterpretation of justice, we correct their thinking and help them to better understand the meaning.

As mommy and teacher, I am doing my best to be fair and just. With a Biblical, moral compass to guide me and a great love for my family, I pray that I will always be the fairest in the land (or at least my house).

Do you find it hard to determine what is fair?

5 thoughts on “The Fairest in the Land

  1. Scripture is the perfect place to determine what is fair, and this way the rules don’t change as mom’s mood changes (ideally, of course). I like to use the word equitable myself, because it means you get what is right for you. Three scoops of ice cream for my husband does not mean my almost two year old gets the same amount. Good post. 🙂

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  2. I am right there with middlewaymom. I tell my children frequently that fair does not mean equal. I use a food example also, being that I have 4 children ranging from 6 to 14. I ask if they would like to choose to all eat the same amount to be “fair” or to each get the amount they need to be “fair”. Even the 6yo girl understands that her older brothers being limited to eating the same amount as she does would not be fair. None of them want to wait until the youngest eats the same amount as they do before dessert is served either (it would never happen!). I think that is the biggest misconception with children, as well as society. Fair is everyone getting what they need. Fair is each person getting the opportunity to earn the things they want. Fair is NOT equal.

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  3. This is a great post! I try to be just with what each of our kids get (age 1-11) I think the hardest is for my 4 year old to understand why he can’t do the things the 10 & 11 year old can do. Like ride his bike on the walking trail out in front of out house. So, I end up not letting any of them, or making them wait until he’s napping. It really isn’t fair. I appreciate you encouraging us toward God’s picture of fair, not the childish picture of fair the world purports.
    Thanks!
    Suzanne

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