Wednesday, August 29, 2012

It's Not Fair!

There's a phrase that is uttered in our house about every 10 minutes. It's the children's favorite phrase. They see determined to teach it to the younger children, and the sooner the better!
"It's not fair!" can be heard at nearly any time of the day. It is sometimes attached to a happening of significance, but most often, it's tagged onto just about anything.
Someone got one bite more of ice cream than someone else? "It's not fair!"
Somebody got to stay up later than someone else? "It's not fair!"
Somebody got to ride on an errand with Mom or Dad and someone had to stay home? "It's not fair!"

It has been my experience as a leader of children, that the thought process that takes place before blurting "It's not fair!" is short and unreasonable.
Someone realizes, in a flash, that they missed out on something. Often it is something they wouldn't have cared about much had they been calm and processed the situation, but they shout the about the mistreatment anyhow.

One of situations that happens most often at TheZoo is the cry of injustice when a younger sibling is receiving what is thought to be preferential treatment. The two yo gets a snack, but the older children don't. The older group of kids has been instructed on the metabolism differences in the body of a baby as opposed to that of an older child.  The older group of kids knows the schedule for food consumption.  They are aware that there is breakfast at 7, snack at 10, lunch at 12, snack at 3, dinner at 6. What lucky kids, they get to consume something FIVE times a day!
However, when the baby is growing and appears to need more calories than she did last week, and I accommodate, there is a bigger kid there just waiting to let me know that they are also still growing.
How unhappy they are when I offer them one slice of cheese and half a banana!

Sometimes the complaint is when children are divided up into who goes and who stays.
Mr. TheZoo can carry only two kiddos with him in his truck. The ZooMama can carry everyone else, and usually does. On occasion, I don't want to take children with me. Shocker, right?

Here's another shocker. Sometimes we tell our kids that sometimes life isn't fair.
If everyone had the same everything, then our experiences wouldn't be any different. We wouldn't have stories to tell. We wouldn't have art to express ourselves with. We wouldn't have the option of choosing anything.

The two biggest kiddos are moving past the "It's not fair!" stage. They are more understanding, and tend to think things through more thoroughly. The next three are in the throes of declaring what is fair and what isn't, and the next two are quickly learning that they are missing out on things.

I often feel as though I teach the same things to my children over and over. I do. I really do, but not they way I find myself stressing about it. There are seven children here, and my repetition is only for a time with each child, it's just that it IS with EACH child.

Sometimes things aren't fair. It can't be the same for everyone. Sometimes you earn more, sometimes you earn less, sometimes you have grace or a blessing, and sometimes you are happy for someone else's grace or blessing.

I hope I always remember this myself, as I teach my children.


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