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Parenting Perspective: Life's Not Fair

Today's post is written by my friend, Dawn. She invited me to join her writer's group a few years ago, and today's post is one she shared with our group. I liked it so much, I've never forgotten it. I'm so honored that she's allowing me to share it with you today.

If there’s one thing life continues to teach me, it’s that life is not fair. 

If there’s one thing I want my children to learn, it’s that life is not fair. 

Not that I would ever put an iPad under the Christmas tree for one while putting a deck of cards under the tree for the other, but I also don’t concern myself with comparing receipts.  Sometimes, I intentionally bless one of my children, with the secondary objective of teaching the other child to be gracious when they are not on the receiving end of the blessing.  Sometimes I’ll buy something small for one child but not the other.  Sometimes I’ll leave a handwritten note for one but not the other.   

I was complimenting my son recently about a class project he’d worked diligently on and for which his hard work paid off.   I told him I appreciated his tenacity and follow-through, particularly on a project he didn’t enjoy doing.  In walked my daughter interrupting with “What about me?  Aren’t I a hard worker?  Don’t I do a good job at things? Aren’t you proud of me?” 

“Of course, I’m proud of you,” I told her, “And of course there are many wonderful things about you, too.  But right now I’m complimenting your brother, so please practice being happy for him.” 

My goal is to be enough in tune with each of my children’s love languages that they don’t feel compelled to keep score of how many hours I spent with one of them over the other, who received more hugs, or who received the more expensive school shoes for the year.   

I hope they will grow up knowing how to navigate life’s inevitable disappointments, defeats, and injustices. I hope they grow up to be happy for those who are in the spotlight and to be free from the constraint of keeping score.  

There will be times when they do everything “right” and things will work out horribly. Because life isn’t fair. 

Other times, they’ll be on the receiving end of unexpected blessings.  Because life isn’t fair. 

My goal is for them to understand that unpredictability is an inherent part of life. I hope they embrace it anyway--with grace and with gratitude. 

blonde woman wearing black
Dawn Hauter

Dawn Hauter, who lives in rural Ohio, penned this piece several years ago when her now-adult children were still young. Last year, she had her first essay published in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Get Out of Your Comfort Zone".

Check it out!


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