Fair ball, fair catch, it’s in the fairway. Playing fair is a pretty easy concept when it comes to sports and now that we have instant replay, it assures it. Playing fair is pretty clear and expected on the field. Ironically, the game of life is, all too often, not so fair. How do we help our children understand that we should fight for fairness, but learn to productively cope with the inequities and injustices that challenge our days?
Rutgers professor, Elizabeth Tricomi, PhD., studied the concept of fairness and discovered that it is something hardwired in our brains and an expectation by the youngest of children. Moreover, we tend to have an inherent desire to see the underdog win and the playing field equalized. Helping our children to be fair and promote justice is a daily trial for parenting and educating children. One of my favorite simple parenting principles is to be “firm, fair, & friendly” when our wits are at an end. When we take a deep breath, gather our wits, and speak with truth and love, our children will learn to do the same.
Here are a few phrases that we can teach our kids to help them use intelligent remarks instead of hurtful ones:
- “Tell not yell.”
- “Be mad, but not mean.”
- “Be helpful, not hateful.”
Blame and shame words v. Playing fair words
- Liar! v. I heard you say something different before.
- You cheated! v. I don’t think that’s how this game is played. The rule is…
- You’re a tattle tale! v. I wish you would tell me first when you don’t like something I did.
- Move over! v. I don’t have enough room. Could you move?
- You’re not the boss of me! v. I don’t like it when you give me orders.
- You’re not my friend anymore! v. I don’t like what you said about me. It hurt me.
- You’re so mean! v. Stop teasing me. I don’t like it.
“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.” – Dennis Wholey
“Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing, it means giving every child what they need to succeed”. – Rick Lavoie