The Most Important Truth About Life
There is a phrase of 3 words that you as an adult should never say (...and that kids need to learn not to say also). A phrase that doesn’t do anything for you. A phrase that makes you look like a whiner or a complainer. A phrase that makes it seem like you don’t understand how life works. But also a phrase that gets used by adults ALL THE TIME.
I used to say this phrase as a kid and as a young adult too but once I started hearing other people say it, it made me reflect on it. Did I sound like them when I said it? Do I sound as bad as they do when I say it? What I am getting out of using this phrase? Is it even worth while using this phrase? And the answers were yes, yes, nothing, and no. It was time to change my thinking and understand a key thing about life.
Now you’re probably thinking, “just say what phrase you’re talking about already!” I’m just trying to build up some anticipation and maybe see if you can guess where I am going to go with this.
Let me paint you a picture. Janet and Jesse are friends. They decide to get into a “let’s get fit” mentality and start putting in the work to lose the weight and tone up. So they do all the necessary steps. They throw out all their junk food and start eating right. They set up a plan and go to the gym 6 days a week. It’s going good and they are keeping each other accountable. The weight is starting to come off and things are looking good. Then Janet notices that Jesse is starting to eat some of the food that she shouldn’t and that they originally said they were going to stop eating. She also notices that while Jesse is eating the bad food, she is still losing the weight and toning up, while Janet herself is actually plateauing and isn’t progressing anymore. After a while of this Janet is talking with Jesse and is expressing her frustration with how the journey is going and she utters those 3 words…
Nope still won’t let you know just yet.
Here’s another story. Tim and Bruce are coworkers. They work in a big company with lots of departments. They both apply on a job internally in the company. They know each other have applied on the job. Tim thinks to himself “I’ve got this” because he has been with the company 2 years longer than Bruce, he has community service experience, he’s a hard worker, he always goes above and beyond, his coworkers love him, and he knows from his manager that Bruce isn’t that great of a worker. After the company sees all the applicants Tim finds out that Bruce got the job. He thinks to himself, “How is that possible?!” He finds out through back channels that Bruce’s Uncle works in that department and “pulled some strings”. Tim is so upset and he says…
Can you guess it? What do both of these people say?
They said, “It’s not fair!”
Who said it was going to be fair? How are there adults that think fairness is a component of life. It’s not. It never has been. It never will be. You could do everything right, put in the time, make the effort, play the game by the rules, and still not get what you’re going for.
I think this realization needs to start at a younger age so that we don’t have adults expecting to get something because “that’s what’s fair”. It’s happening because we as parents, coaches, teachers, and authority figures are doing the whole “everybody wins and no one is left out” approach. Kids need to know that sometimes they will lose, they will get picked last, they will get left out all the while doing everything right by the rules. There shouldn’t be 8th and 9th place ribbons. There shouldn’t be trophies for every team that just played. Everyone shouldn’t get equal time on the court or the field. Life isn’t equal.
We are doing kids a huge injustice by letting them think that the world is fair. Now I want to make it clear that there is a point when kids are really young where this mentality is ok but at some point the fairness mentality has to stop being expected. Maybe it ends when they’re around 10 years old or maybe it ends when they leave elementary and begin junior high. I don’t know but at some point it needs to stop. That is an incredibly unrealistic expectation you are getting them used to. Now I think that they should be taught to be fair but also be taught not to expect fairness in return. I think it will do a lot of good for them down the road. But I want to pass the question off to you, what do you think? Do you agree? Do you disagree? Are you a “it’s not fair” kind of person? Let me know in the comments below.
- Papa Bird