“Life’s NOT Fair!”
Joey & Carla Link
June 19, 2019
My (Joey) siblings were a few years older than me so they got to do things that sounded like a lot of fun but I wasn’t allowed to tag along. One time they got to go Christmas caroling with the church youth group in the back of a dump truck! I was 12 at the time and that sounded like so much fun. But my parents said I wasn’t old enough and I wasn’t going. I let them know in no uncertain terms that “Life’s NOT Fair!” but they weren’t swayed and I stayed home.
Have you heard “Life’s not fair” from your kids? What do kids mean when they say this? Its intent is to make the person telling you that you can’t do what you want to do feel guilty enough as you pull on their heartstring to give in and let you go.
When kids say something like this they are being self-focused:
- They are thinking only of what they want to do
- They are telling you they deserve better than you are giving them
- They want more and they think they deserve more
By the way, this is what they are saying to you when they yell “I hate you” or “you don’t love me” too.
So what is fair? Children are not the same in the gifts and talents they have, and they crave the ones they don’t have. One of your kids may be gifted playing baseball and another one of your kids can’t hit a ball for the life of him. Yet this same child is gifted musically but doesn’t seem to care about that. One of my (Carla’s) sisters had blonde hair and one was a brunette. Me, I have red hair and freckles. My least favorite nickname growing up I heard at school was “Redhead the deadhead”. Did I covet their hair? You bet I did.
To listen to a child complain about what is not fair does not put parents in the best mood. If you are telling one of your children many times a week how selfish he/she is or thinking it, you have a child with a deeply rooted sin issue. It is most likely time to start digging away in the garden of his/her heart at this vile weed so it no longer controls your child’s thoughts and deeds.
Selfishness doesn’t care at all about what others are or are not getting. The most important thing in the world is what he got (or did not get) so going the route of trying to show him he got a fair deal is useless. A selfish heart doesn’t want to see others succeed because that person is getting praise and attention and that gives them perceived power that the selfish one wants to keep possession of. They also are not capable of admitting when they are wrong, but they don’t see that they are wrong. So, where do you begin?
5 ways to combat selfishness
- Teach your kids to have grateful hearts for then they will learn that to be content is to be satisfied with what you have and with what you don’t have. True contentment comes from accepting Christ and having faith that in Him you will have everything you need. (Philippians 4:11-13)
- Teach your kids that God made them special and unique. God made them perfect in every way even if they think they have some deformity like red hair. Parents need to teach their kids that God doesn’t make mistakes. Let them know that God has a very special purpose to bring glory to Him through them just the way He created them. My frustrated mom once asked me when I was complaining about my hair for the umpteenth time if she was the one who decided the color. I told her I knew she didn’t, that God made that choice when He created me. Then she told me to go to my room and let God know what I thought about Him giving me red hair and complain to Him. I was appalled, but I learned a valuable lesson that day.
- Teach your kids to put the needs of others first. Don’t just tell them they need to think of others first when they are being selfish. Ask them what they could do to show their siblings or/and you that they are thinking of them instead of pushing for what they want.
- Teach your kids to cheer others on to succeed. We required our kids to go to all the events of their siblings. They knew this was non-negotiable so they didn’t fight us on it. We were pleased when our two older kids joined us in the stands when our youngest was in the State Marching Band Competition. Our son was at university a couple hours away and our daughter took the train down from the Bible College she attended several hours away. It didn’t even occur to us or her that they would come. When we looked at them in surprise, they both said, “You cheer each other on, non-negotiable, right? She came to all our stuff so it is only fair we get to some of hers.”
- Teach your kids that life isn’t fair because it isn’t. When one of our kids said “life isn’t fair” we agreed with them and told them to go to their room and get their attitude (heart) right with God. Agreeing with them that “life is not fair” took their fight away because they had no response for us.
Parents, don’t let your kids get away with saying “It’s not fair”. Use this as a teaching opportunity to help them see that “fair” is what is best for them, how God made them and what He gives them. For we all know it was not fair for Jesus to have to die for us, but He was willing to do it even if your selfish child was the only person on the face of the earth. If God thinks each of us is that important, then how can we tell Him He made a mistake when He created us?
This Week’s Question:
Are your kids willing to live life the way God made them?