It all started when my child blurted out one day “It’s not fair!” when she didn’t get her way.
I ignored the statement and took it as one of her pertulant outbursts when things don’t go her way. Until the “not fair” outbursts became more frequent and over the smallest stuff that I began to sit up and take note.
So one day when she uttered the infamous words again, I decided to give her a piece of my mind.
I told her in a firm but calm tone, “Baby, you’re right. Life really isn’t fair, that is why you have food to eat, clothes to wear, and papa and mama to love you, when there are little children in other poor countries who don’t have all these.” It seemed to work as the frequency of her “not fair” outbursts have magically reduced. In fact, I hardly hear it lately. Maybe she has outgrown it.
This may not be the best lesson to teach a preschooler about the unfairness of life. But it seemed the most appropriate to me at that point in time. Otherwise, how do you explain to a preschooler that life is indeed not fair? That some people have it more or better than others; why a devoted mother had slogged her whole life to provide for her children, only to be diagnosed with cancer in her twilight years; or why that young life was snubbed out suddenly because of a reckless drunk driver.
So life is indeed not fair. But what can you do? Who do you blame? If getting angry, bitter or fretful is not going to change anything, then we just have to grit our teeth and get on with it. Or do our darnest to make life a little more fair to us.
Having had a tough childhood, I had lamented in my teenage years that life wasn’t fair to me. But as I matured and experienced more of life, I learnt that not everyone is dealt with the same fate in life. Some have it easier and better, others are less privileged. I’ve also learnt that it was pointless to wallow in self pity when life dealt you a hard ball. Seething with bitterness or envy only make us physically ill in the long run. So I have learnt to accept life as it is with serenity if I cannot change anything, and do my utmost to make life a little better for myself if it is within my means to change it.
I hope my little girl will learn how to cope with life’s unfairness when she grows up. And when her children blurt out that life is not fair, she will have the wisdom to provide the right answer for them.
Let’s embrace the future with appreciation of what we have, and the wisdom and courage to accept or change what we deem as not fair.