These three words are heard in my house on a daily basis. They frustrate me to the core, and I often catch myself repeating the words of my father, “Life’s not fair!” Difficult words to hear but so true.
In my house we try not to operate under the terms of “fair”, that is treating each child in exactly the same way. It’s just not realistic. We have three children who are so different from each other, each with unique needs. There is just no way that we can be good parents to them and be “fair” at the same time!
Where in the world did they get this expectation that life will be fair? It seems as if they have believed that they would be treated the same by everyone since they entered the world. It really is a beautiful concept, this idea of being fair, but it’s not realistic.
When we operate under the premise of being fair, we often miss understanding each other. We miss the opportunity to see the uniqueness in others, to understand who our children are as individuals, to acknowledge individual strengths and weaknesses. Operating in such a way, believing that we all need the same things in essence ignores what sets us apart.
God created each of us to be unique and to complement each other through our differences. We work better together because we are different. When we try to be fair in the way we respond to our children, in the consequences we give or in the praise we offer, we will inevitably miss meeting individual needs.
Gary Chapman’s book, 5 Love Languages, works to highlight how individuals communicate and receive love differently. This is one of the many ways each member of our family is different. It’s so important for us as parents to understand how our children give and receive love. What makes them feel loved? Am I working to show them love in the best way for them to understand and experience it? This is not only true for our children but for our spouse and others who are important to us. To be in relationship with others is not about showing love to them in the way that we feel loved. To truly be in relationship means we are taking time to understand each other, what we need and then working to uniquely approach each individual according to their needs.
God set up apart. He created us to be unique individuals. Instead of being focused on treating everyone fairly, let’s focus on approaching others in order to better know and understand them. Once we understand what is needed by those in our life, we can work to meet those needs.
Life is not fair… it is unique because we are created to be unique individuals, made in our Savior’s likeness. So instead of being fair, let’s be unique. Let’s approach each individual in different ways, just as our Savior meets with each of us in specific ways to show His love.
Be unique… not fair.