“It’s not fair, though!”
Oof. When I hear those words, no fewer than 6 times before the first cup of coffee is finished, I know there are a lot of feelings in the house and some teaching needs to be done. Again.
Here’s a situation: 3 children sitting on a couch. The biggest at one end, book in hand, blanket over his lap. Middle cushion is occupied by the eldest girl, same blanket across her lap, 3 books in her lap ready to read more. The youngest on the other end, same blanket across her lap, a little closer to her sister, and another blanket folded over the arm of the sofa. Suddenly Girlie notices the other blanket, realizes it could be used for a pillow, and reaches across her sister to throw the blanket onto the floor while telling Monkey (not necessarily calmly) that sine she (Girlie) didn’t have a pillow then neither should Monkey. “Cuz it’s not fair.”
Full stop. Wait. Whoa. Monkey didn’t react (way out of character, she must still be partly asleep…) but this momma certainly did. This is something ongoing, something we talk about a lot. No one gets to take something away from some one else just because not everyone has it. Just because one sibling has something another doesn’t it does not make it alright for a child to take it away. And despite protests of “But… but… but…” I hope the message wasn’t lost.
We don’t own a cat. Our neighbour has a cat. Can I take that pet away to make it “fair”? We don’t have a carpet cleaner. Friends down the road have a carpet cleaner. Am I able to take it away to make it “fair”? Does our lack of a cat affect the neighbour’s right to have a cat? Or a carpet cleaner? What about the trucks that line the street, when one is absent (for the present moment) from our home?
We have things. A roof over our heads, food in the fridge, clothes in the wash. There are many who do not have these things. Does that mean we need to get rid of our stuff in order to make it “fair” for those who have less? Or nothing?
What I hope to bring home to all these littles, not just Girlie who brought on this morning’s lecture, is a couple things. When you look at others and all you see is what they have that you don’t, you are going to be grumpy. When you look at yourself and all you see is what you have but others don’t, you’re going to be more than a little self absorbed and self righteous. When all your energy is spent looking at your ice cream bowl, deciding how unfair it is that the littler sister got a teensy bit more in her bowl and how is that fair because you are bigger and therefore deserve, if not at least the EXACT same amount, perhaps a smidgen more… Well, you’re going to have grumpy parents who are going to lecture a bit about grace, love, and how important it is to be happy you got any ice cream at all.
I am writing this as I am finishing that first cup of coffee still. Hubby left for work, I sat down with what was the bottom half of my first cup of coffee and that interaction happened within those first few minutes after he left. I’m used to that. I sometimes think about setting a timer from the time Hubby leaves, just to see exactly how quickly things get loud and angry. But, for as much as it frustrates me that these discussions happen again, and again, and again, I am glad that it isn’t only me having them. Hubby has his share with the littles too. And each time, I hope, a little more gets understood and maybe they will be able to grow up aware of the people around them, that they are blessed, and that they will find ways to share their blessing instead of hoarding them or feeling they need to supress others to maintain their state.