Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Life's Hard and Then You Die. So Eat Your Breakfast!

Anyone that knows me very well probably knows that I hate the word "fair". I'm so sick of people whining about things that aren't fair. Whoever said fair was part of the bargain? Some parents just drive me nuts in their quest for fairness for their child. They drive themselves (and everyone else around them) insane making sure that little Johnny or Sally has the same number of turns and the same amount of candy or goodies. Just lighten up and let the kids be kids, will you?
Don't get me wrong. I think candy should be divided equally and everyone should take turns. That's the rules on the playground so to speak, but that's not necessarily the rules for life. In real life you don't always get fair. Not on the job, not in play. Not anywhere. Let's face it: life isn't fair, and if we struggle to make sure that our children always get what's "fair" we're doing them a great disservice. In no way are we preparing them for the real world. In addition to that, parents that struggle for complete "fairness" often end up raising children with entitlement issues. Since their parents always made sure they got everything they had coming to them, the message their sending the kids is that they deserve everything good that they get. In fact, they have a right to everything they want or demand. This is so wrong. And these kids are in for such a shock when they are thrust out into a world that does not care about what's fair to them or what they are entitled to.
This thought even permeates Christian circles. I've watched Sunday School competitions gets all stretched beyond what was originally intended because well-meaning(?) mothers kept trying to make sure everything was fair. In reality what they're doing is making sure their child has the best shot of winning. You can't stack the deck in favor of your child. They get to where they expect Mommy and Daddy to always pull strings, but someday they will run up against something that Mom and Dad can't fix. Xince they've never had to face hard times or disappointments, they won't be able to handle it. You're not doing your child any favors by trying to make sure they always win.
Hey, I'm a parent. I always want my child to win, to be the best, to come out on top. But this is the real world. Someone always has to lose in a game or a race. If it's your child, use the opportunity to help him understand dealing with loss. Help him realize that he can hold his head high and determine to do better next time. To be a gracious loser. To develop character. Do your kid a favor. Don't do him any favors.

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