40+FAB Blog

It’s not fair

“It’s not fair!” Has become a very popular cry in my house as either of my two sons protest, seeking why they have not been treated like the other.
As I analyse their reasons for redress, it is quite apparent that their requests are a little unreasonable and really have nothing to do with fairness.

For instance, my 8 year old says it’s not fair that my 5 year old is reading a much easier book than he has to read. And, my 5 year old says it’s not fair that he has a smaller portion of food than my 8 year old. If I were to give them both what they thought was fair, I would actually be doing them more harm than good.

The next time you are tempted to cry out it’s not fair, pause and consider deeply if what you are asking for is right for you and not just equal to what another has. There are no two humans anywhere that are exactly the same, so in that vein our capacity to handle things will always be very unique, hence fairness becomes very contextual and relative.

This reminds me of Shylock in the merchant of Venice who wanted his pound of flesh from his debtor, Antonio. Antonio was saved by a wise lawyer who said Shylock could only cut him once, and it must be precisely a pound of flesh, nothing more or nothing less. As hard as it is to get back a pound of flesh, so also is it almost impossible to properly balance out what is fair to you in the light of what another person has received.