…my 6 year old yelled as tears welled up in his eyes. It was the “It’s not fair!” response to his friend getting to do something that he couldn’t. It was a frustrated response because I halted his bad behavior but another child was doing the same thing and his mom didn’t stop him. “So-and-so can do that, why can’t I??”
Then it hit me. I completely understand the frustration. I am 36 years old and I also want to sometimes yell “It’s not fair!” I have to acknowledge that I have a problem with people who do things that are wrong (or that I perceive as wrong).
I am far from perfect and have absolutely no reason to have some moral superiority complex, but I seem to become incensed when I observe people doing bad things and getting away with it. It’s like I get frustrated and think there’s no justice in the world. I feel like people should be held accountable.
Look, I’ve made mistakes in my life, but I never cheated in school. Ever. I remember times in high school when girlfriends wrote test answers on their legs when they wore miniskirts. I even sat in an exam while 80% of the class handed around the answers in front of a completely distracted teacher. In college, I was actually accused of cheating on a paper. I was heartbroken and I fought the accusation (which seemed to surprise the professor) until I was completely absolved and even given a sincere apology.
I got overly protective when I surmised (wrongly or not) that a relative was taking advantage of my elderly grandparents.
I get angry at other drivers who drive in breakdown lanes, run red lights, do completely reckless and wildly illegal things only to have a cop nowhere in sight.
I feel my stomach burn when I see or hear about bullying behavior, horrible ignorance or hateful attitudes (racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.) against anyone, anything or any being whatsoever.
I am somewhat unable to get over people’s bad behavior towards others, whether it impacts me or not.
You’ve seen my pet peeves post, right?
Why can people get away with such bad behavior when I have to sit here and follow the rules?? Why can’t others be more responsible and respectful?
I’ve tapped into one of the things that has been preventing me from the next step of my journey toward inner peace. And it took this 6 year old with tears in his eyes to have it hit me. I sat down with him and tried to calm him without being able to explain in simple words. All I said was “because I want you to be better. “
I felt like it was an enlightening thing to say. He got a frumpy look on his face and responded with “well, I don’t want to be better.”
Later, once he was over it and tucked into bed, I walked into my bathroom. There, I saw the piece of paper taped to the mirror that I’d placed there only days prior. It was from my fellow CTWM blogger, Michelle and it said:
“Every day, think as you wake up, Today I am fortunate to have woken up, I am alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use All my energies to develop myself, To expand my heart out to others, To achieve enlightenment for The benefit of all beings, I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry, Or think badly about others, I am going to benefit others As much as I can. – Dalai Lama”
Life isn’t fair, right?
It isn’t about following the rules and expecting something out of it. It’s about using your energy for love, progress and peace, not for worrying about what other people are doing. Why do we worry so damn much about what other people are doing? Why do I care so much? Why do so many other people care so much about what everyone else is doing? Why do I care about someone doing something that’s not within my moral code? Isn’t that similar to someone being upset that I’m married to a woman if they feel that gay marriage is immoral? It’s the same logic, right?
I’m not sure I really have an answer for myself. I’m not completely unable to get over some of my lingering and nagging things that I observe and want to call out or fix.
And here I am trying to explain to a 6 year old why life isn’t fair. Or maybe it is fair but you don’t always see the benefit of your positive behavior. And how do you tell a 6 year old that you will get to a place where you don’t need to see the results of taking the high road? How do you tell your 6 year old that you want them to take the high road because in their hearts, it’s the right thing to do, not because they just don’t want to get caught?
For a 6 year old, positive behavior should mean rewards. And where I want to see someone have actual, real consequences for their bad behavior as my reward for being good, my son thinks his positive behavior should be rewarded with actual, real rewards such as ice cream or Legos. That seems logical, doesn’t it?
And how to do determine when to ignore/accept something you see as an “unfairness” or inequality versus when it is something that you need to speak up about and act upon? Can we help guide our children down a path of not letting some things bother them, but knowing when it’s the time to stand up for something else?
Obviously, this is all part of the journey. I think as I get further along in my personal development, my children will hopefully be able to learn along with me.