There is a conflict I have been consistently refereeing among my children. I call it the battle of fairness and sameness.
As a mom I’ve made it clear with each child from the beginning that it’s not my job to make life fair, nor will I attempt to reach the standard of treating each child the same. Just the thought of attempting those impossible feats exhausts me. My children are far from identical, even if they all bear a resemblance and share their Daddy’s amazingly long eye lashes. Then there is the difference between the boys and my daughter… age differences factor in, and then each incredible personality comes into play. Fairness and treating everyone the same just doesn’t work in my mind.
That doesn’t mean that each child isn’t treated fairly, or that I don’t love them all with the same profoundly deep love that boggles my ability to understand it.
However, fair for one child isn’t fair for another. And showing love to my daughter in the same way my oldest son feels the most loved would (and has!) cause her to feel suffocated and irritable. Each of them loves it when I display that I know them well enough to know these individualities. They love being called out for their unique contributions to our family, and being fussed over for something their sibling can’t do as well. And all four of them have time in the limelight.
Just not all at the same time. Or even on the same day… or in the same ways. And this is where the battle comes in.
At times they get so focused on what they aren’t getting that all they see is what someone else has, or is receiving. They completely forget what they’ve got and what they were just given. Its like they forget who they are and what they like. Not only that, but when it comes to consequences, they completely forget that they were the ones choosing a behavior to begin with. Well… don’t we all at times?
I can’t make life fair for my children because I can’t make their choices for them. Nor can I forget that they are so incredibly unique, requiring different approaches and styles of instruction. What one child earns another child might get gifted, simply because without the gift they’d never reach the prize. It’s not fair. But the child who earned it needed the exercise in growth to reach his greater potential, while the child who got a gift wouldn’t have tried without grasping encouragement in his pudgy little fingers first. One child has privileges the others don’t enjoy. The others don’t have this child’s responsibilities either… it’s not fair. They are not the same people.
Isn’t it that way with adults too? I found myself complaining to God about the unfairness of a situation. His response was profound in my heart. Child, I didn’t create you for fairness. I created you to know Me and because I wanted to get to know you. I will always do what is right for you, and I will always place the opportunities for your greatest joy within each one of your days. And I will always be cheering you on to choose the things that are designed for your perfect life with Me.
We do this among ourselves though… We walk into a room and size up the competition. If it happens to be our turn in the limelight, life is so good – it’s fair. If we happen to be repeatedly watching others succeed or gain promotions it can be as if we forget who we are and what we really love in life because we aren’t getting the attention or things we see others possess. Jealousy’s monstrous voice says if it’s not fair to me, then it should all at least be the same for everyone… At times becoming so focused on what is fair or how to keep everything the same for everyone that we forget what truly brings us joy. Each of us have an opportunity for immense joy every day if we choose it; if we will settle down and be content with being different. Letting what is fair be different for each person and enjoying those differences.
Differences designed by Creator God, for His pleasure, for our joy should we choose it, and for purpose and destiny in His perfect plan for unity within His family. Just like in my own family, in His family we are all called out for our unique contributions and skills by His love; we all have moments in the lime light. Some of us work for what others are simply gifted. Some of us enjoy great privileges that others don’t because we don’t carry the same responsibilities. Some of us have to wait longer than others, and some of us receive a prize we’ve been waiting years to claim, while others begin their wait on the same day… none of it is fair.