These days it seems that at least several times a day someone in my household is screaming NO FAIR! It’s happening at a ridiculous pace and I have had it. The straw that broke the camel’s back came last Thursday when Miss E. looked at a photograph of a little girl on a dance poster and said,”Awww, no fair, she has on lipstick.”
It did me in. I looked her square in the face and said “Honey, get used to it. That’s life.” She looked at me with her lip out, trying to take in what I’d said. I continued, “Be grateful that you even get to be at dance. Lots of little girls don’t even get to do this.” She’s on the cusp of five. Why was I still talking? I knew most of it was going right over her head.
I didn’t let it slip my mind though. There are bigger conversations to be had, with both her and her seven year old brother. Those words – no fair -seem to live at the forefront of their brains.
No fair, she got more ice cream. He got to watch TV today? No fair. Why do you and Daddy get to stay up late? It’s no fair. My friend got to go see a movie. No fair.
ENOUGH. I’m calling for the elimination of NO FAIR from my family’s vocabulary. It doesn’t help anyone. As adults, we all know life isn’t fair and it does us absolutely no good to dwell on it. My children need to learn to be grateful for what they have. Things aren’t always equal; that’s fact. We all have different experiences, different gifts, different belongings and family rules. It’s what keeps things interesting.
As I attempt to teach this lesson to my kids, I know that I need to take notes as well. I may not yell “no fair” at the top of my lungs, but I’m certainly guilty of having a pity party when I hear someone got an opportunity that I would have loved to take part in. We all do it. But we can’t let it take up space in our minds: that’s the takeaway. We have to take stock in what we DO have.
Life ISN’T fair. Some people work really hard and still see no rewards. Others appear to be in the right place at the right time. And yes, some people just get lucky. It’s a hard truth to come to grips with and I know it will take my children time. I’ll just keep trying.
I have a good life. No, it’s not all been perfect. Yes, there have been some really tough times, many “no fair” moments and there will be plenty more. But it’s a good life nonetheless. I have a nice house, a car to get us from Point A to Point B. I’m close with my family. I married a wonderful man, who is as much my friend as he is my partner. The other night the two of us sat down and talked about all the neat stuff we’ve been able to do together, things that often slip our minds when we’re stuck in the muck of keeping us with the Jones’. We talked about trips we’ve taken, people we’ve met, activities we’ve been able to do…really, really cool things.
It’s important to reflect on these good things, so that when the occasional “no fair” slips into our mind, we can easily let it go. One thing my family does every single evening is to talk about the best part of our day. Regardless of what happened throughout the day, no matter how crappy it might have been or seemingly uneventful, there is always a best part. Sometimes the best part might be bed time, because it means the day is over. That’s okay. A new day means a fresh start.
I’m not unrealistic. My kids are still going to say “no fair”. I’m still going to think it. But by having conversations about it, by recognizing that this is part of life, I hope that at least we’ll all pause before we say it next time…and eventually maybe we won’t say it at all.