What Is Fair?

What_IS_FairMy 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.

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).

Sometimes, our kids think 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. Being treated fair here, means that the rule is applied equally. So that getting dessert is conditioned upon finishing one’s dinner.

In our homeschooling, I need to make sure 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 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 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 I will always be the fairest in the land (or at least my house).

“Blessed are they who observe justice, who do righteousness at all times!”
~ Psalm 106:3

📢 Chime In!: Do you find it hard to determine what is fair?

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11 thoughts on “What Is Fair?

  1. My parents use to tell me “there is no such thing as fair” which is true when you think about it. Because being fair is a matter of morals and being “just”, one persons views can vary greatly from the next. So what is fair to me, can be unfair to you! And that is what stinks when it comes to kids 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do struggle with this. My children are so very different that finding a balance can be hard. We focus the most on balancing our time. Equal one on one time with each child is a priority for both my husband and I, and it really helps.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Theologically, there’s some contention, especially if you listen to the “but Jesus was a “socialist” line from some liberation theology camps; the oft cited, Jesus and The Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, (Matthew 20:1-16). Which is of course countered by “the worker is worth his or her wages.” (Luke 10:7)

    That said, I really like this paragraph: “Receiving justice is to receive what is earned (whether for good or ill). Sometimes, our kids think 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.”

    A loving “no” trumps absolute acquiescence all the time. Or as I teach my kids, “no work, no play/pay.”

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Very well written! In light of what is happening around us, I believe this is a concept that needs to be taught again to adults. There is an 8 year gap between our eldest and middle child and there are many “fights” about things being unfair towards him. We expect more/different from our 12 year old than our 4. I like how you said you go through the definition with your children, I’m going to have to try that. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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