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.
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?