Counseling Update April 26, 2017
LIFE ISN’T FAIR
Wouldn’t it be nice if life were fair? How many times as parents do we hear that refrain from our children, “That is not fair.” So, how do we teach our children how to live in an “unfair” world without becoming bitter or discouraged? How do we teach them that not only is life sometimes unfair, but it is also not equitable either. This can be a daunting task.
This will come as no surprise to you, but once again, you are the role model. That means no more grumbling when things don’t go your way. Sometimes children think of fairness as a finite ingredient—there is only so much of it to go around. We need to let them know that there is enough happiness and fairness for everyone and just because something works for another person, doesn’t mean that diminishes their chances of something good happening to them.
As parents we need to stop trying to make everything fair and equal with all of our children. They are different people with different needs and different likes and dislikes. As we struggle to make everything equal for all of our children, the one who loses out in that scenario is the parent; that is because what meets one child’s needs, does not meet the needs of the others.
Another lesson that needs to be taught is the difference between needs and wants. As parents it is our job to meet our child’s needs, not necessarily their wants. There must be a clear definition and distinction between needs and wants.
Remember, stop comparing yourself to everyone else on the fairness chart; comparison is the root of all problems. Not all of us were born with the same amount or type of gifts and talents. Is that fair? Stop whining that things are not fair that you were not born with a silver spoon in your mouth or that maybe your spoon was plastic or maybe you did not have a spoon at all. It is what you do with what you were given that makes a difference. We all know many stories of people who seemed to have immense challenges, yet they succeeded against all odds. Regardless of the challenges they faced, they had the character to choose to contribute and to leave the world a little better than they found it.
Something that is worth repeating and in fact should be displayed in every classroom are The Rules for Life by Bill Gates. While some people dispute the source, I agree with the hypothesis and hope you share it with your children:
Rule 1: Life is not fair -- get used to it!
Rule 2: The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.
Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.
Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.
Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping -- they called it opportunity.
Rule 6: If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.
Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.
Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.
Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.
Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.
Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.
Here’s the thing—we all face challenges, and life threats us all differently and sometimes unfairly. We all make regrettable choices, and we all suffer from things that were thrust upon us through no fault of our own. However, that old saying, what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, is true. Many of us are stronger, wiser, and better people due to the struggles and unfair situations we experienced. We have survived and come through being able to make this world a little better. After all, life is good, very good; make the most of it.
Linda H. Matchie,