Fairness is the last word in our CDF family motto.
I think it is also the most difficult one to understand.
For many, fairness means equality – or treating everyone exactly the same. If fairness did mean that then it would seem that fairness would negate individual uniqueness and “specialness”. It would mean always sacrificing the self for the greater of the group. This of course, isn’t always bad. Lots of good can come from sacrificing the self for the greater of the group. But it isn’t always good either.
However, to me, fairness means a lot more.
It is a concept that I feel very strongly about – and Rob often teases me about it. I hear from others all the time, “But life isn’t fair! We need to teach our kids that and not protect them and raise them in the bubble where everything is smoothed out by Mama Bear”.
Yes, I know “life is not fair”. And trust me, my kids know “life is not fair”. Any kid who has lived through divorce knows just how unfair life can be.
But, my take on it is although life is not fair in general, in “our home” we will strive for fairness. It can be the safe haven where you can feel that you are treated fairly.
So what do I mean by “fair”?
Fairness means playing by the rules and then using the same criteria, rule or standards for everyone. Not arbitrarily changing things to suit our needs – or suit the needs of one other individual.
Fairness means treating people the way you want to be treated, taking turns and sharing. It means that people have different needs, so taking the time to discover their needs and then help meet them. No, we can’t successfully meet everyone’s needs all the time, but one person’s needs shouldn’t always take precedence over another’s.
It means not playing favorites. The squeaky wheel often gets the oil – but let’s not forget that the quiet wheel still needs oil once in a while. Everyone needs to be in the limelight occasionally; no one needs to be in it all the time.
Fairness means listening closely to others and trying to understand what they are feeling and saying. Listening to everyone equally, with an open mind and letting go of preconceived ideas.
Fairness means considering all the facts, including opposing views before making a decision. It’s not letting personal preferences, prejudices, or feelings interfere with decisions that should be based on merit.
Fairness is not taking advantage of other people’s mistakes or ignorance. It is not taking more than your fair share. It’s being honest in all your dealings; not cheating, lying, deceiving or giving reason for suspicion. It is telling the truth, even though it may be hard to do.
Fairness is taking responsibility for your own mistakes, correcting your mistakes, asking for forgiveness, and not blaming others. It is exercising forgiveness, humility and compassion. It is letting go of your pride to “do the right thing” or to “suck it up” once in a while.
Fairness is thinking how your actions will impact others. It is being considerate of other people’s needs, time, feelings and belongings. It is sometimes sacrificing what you want, to make someone else’s day.
Fairness is taking the time to celebrate everyone’s uniqueness and individuality and making sure everyone has the opportunity to excel in their own show. It is making sure that everyone knows they are valuable and needed and not forgotten. That everyone knows they are their own kind of special.
Can we always be fair? No.
And we aren’t always charitable or determined either.
But these are things we can strive for. We can strive for fairness, we can strive to be charitable and we can be determined to keep striving.
CDF: Charity, Determination and Fairness.