Today’s topic is “Finding Fair” and I’m having a very difficult time finding some kind of a consistent pulse for my perspective on the subject.
“Life ain’t supposed to be fair!”, comes to mind first and that’s not really where I want my mind to be. So I have to step back and think about what fair means. Really, what does it mean to be “fair”. And who determines the fairness factor and whether we’ve reached it?
As a parent, “fair” might be the balance in the middle of two siblings. Yet, if you change any one variable in the equation that is supposed to result in fair, the result changes. Who gets more video game time and what’s fair about which games they play. Or who gets how much of the cake, not to mention who gets to pick what flavor it is… or do I just make one flavor for each child and is that fair to me. It’s all perspective.
Fair is really how we see it.
The more I think about it, the more aggravating fair appears. Usually, whatever is fair to one person, may not quite seem the same to someone else. My 13 year old doesn’t think its fair that he has to wash all the dishes all the time. I, however, don’t think its fair if it were left up to me to buy all the groceries, make all the meals and wash all the dishes when there are 5 bodies in the house… most of them capable of helping out. So what’s really fair and who decides? In the end, I decide what is done, fair or not.
The bottom line is learning to compromise without completely short changing yourself or even worst, leaving yourself out all together. Saying that, however, I really don’t like the stereotypical views of compromising. To me it seems like too many people give in and call it a compromise. That’s not compromising at all. That’s one person winning while another loses, but maybe only if they feel they have lost. Compromising is about both sides winning… a little. Teaming playing is more the theme. “You take the right and I’ll take the left and we’ll meet in the middle” is how fair should be and how compromising really is supposed to work.
This all goes back to the preschool lesson of sharing. Fair is about sharing. Compromise is about sharing. Sharing the work load, sharing the burden, sharing the expected outcome. I don’t mean sharing as in agreeing. I mean sharing as in dividing up the cake… or the mud pie if that’s what it turns out you’re dealing with.
So maybe finding fair is about learning to understand, appreciate and work with the expectations of others and sharing in the process to find an outcome that everyone involved likes… or at least isn’t unhappy with.