A little mommy rant time please: If my kids tell me something isn’t “fair” one more time I’m going to explode.
My girls say “That’s not fair” so often that little two-year-old Lucas routinely crosses his arms and says “Not fair” when he doesn’t get his way. TWO. The kid’s TWO.
This really started about a year ago. I don’t know what happened, but the girls (who are now 10 and 6) just started focusing on every single thing and started comparing EVERYTHING. “She got more juice than me.” “I didn’t make that mess, why do I have to clean it up?” “Her piece of candy is bigger than mine.” “I had to clear the table yesterday. She should have to do it today.” “THAT’S NOT FAIR.”
I used to respond with “Well, kiddo, life isn’t fair.” Think that response was working? Take a wild guess.
I was seriously about to lose it, guys. (Ok, maybe I did lose it.)
Guess what I responded with in one of my fits of “that’s not fair” rage. (Nope, it wasn’t “no shit.”) My slightly loud response was: “Is it fair that Jesus died on a cross for you?”
Oh snap. Silence.
See, in our house, we love Jesus. (Stick with me my unbelieving friends, I’m not trying to convert you.) I try to use this love in my parenting methods, often by using Jesus and his actions as an example of how we should live, cuz let’s be honest, I am definitely *not* Jesus, making plenty of horrible choices each and every day.
So the girls weren’t surprised by Jesus being brought into the situation – they were used to that. But they were surprised by how quickly our little tiff about what wasn’t fair turned quite serious.
I didn’t mean to say it out loud. I hadn’t ever planned on using this specific Jesus example in such a context. Jesus dying on a cross is a BIG deal. Like, HUGE.
But you know what? It worked. It put the “that’s not fair” situation into a LIFE context. Into perspective. Yes, you did get 1/16 of an inch less juice than your sister, but really, does is matter? Because there are bigger things in life that DO matter. And there are bigger injustices in the world than you not getting the exact same about of juice as your sister.
I’m not saying that spewing “Is it fair that Jesus died on a cross for you?” is the best route (especially if you’re not a believer or your kid is 2). But to be very clear, I still say it every time one of my girls puts up the “unfair” issue. It puts the issue in perspective. Is this something we need to argue about or is this something we can move on from?
I understand their desire for justice. I want to encourage that desire, but only in the right direction. I don’t want it to become justice *for me* – a selfish justice that is so easily seen in today’s youth. I want my kids to desire justice for the poor, for widows, for orphans, for our neighbors.
I think how we deal with kids in “unfair” situations will completely transform them as they grow. Remember that friends. Let’s guide them in the right direction.
(For some reason when I was thinking of a title for this post, “Get shorty” popped into my head. I have absolutely no idea, I just thought it was funny so I thought I’d share that with you.)