You may have read the title of this blog post and thought that I was speaking about race, ethnicity, culture or religion but that is not my intent. I am talking about life in general, the importance of teaching kids that while life should be fair it’s not always meant to be equal. Let me explain what I mean. It is not an uncommon to see siblings fight over gifts, treats or even time with Mom or Dad. Often in an attempt to diffuse tense situations, parents will try to level things off by making everything equal but I feel that this sets kids up for failure in the future.
Over the years my kids have shocked others with their ability to accept and even commend their siblings on receiving something extra whether it was a toy, a monetary gift or individual time with mom or dad. The reason that my kids are able to be gracious to one another in these situations is because we have never given in to that urge to make things equal because that often makes situations unfair. For instance, my oldest son helped me with some odd jobs last summer and he made five dollars a week for his hard work. His sister was presented with the same opportunity but she chose to not assist us to earn the extra income. It wouldn’t have been fair to pay her for work that she hadn’t done simply to make things equal. Robert ( my oldest) did the work so he earned the right to the allowance. My daughter may have been bummed because at the end of the summer she didn’t have the spending cash that Robert did but she understood.
We do not set out to create situations that result in one child receiving more than another but when a child steps up and does something above and beyond what was asked of them they deserve an extra treat. Maybe an extra cookie at snack time or a walk in the park with mom. It’s important to reward children for their actions because if you try to make every little thing equal it winds up that you end up rewarding your other children for not doing anything at all and this could result in them always relying on big brother or big sister to earn them their rewards.
In the real world, your boss isn’t going to give you a raise or a promotion at work because he gave one to the rest of the staff. The only way you are going to receive that reward is through your own hard work. It’s important to start teaching these lessons early in life because it well help your children succeed in the future. I can’t tell you how many times I have listened to someone complain that so and so received a raise and they were angry because they didn’t get one too. I have asked these individuals if so and so deserved the raise and usually, they agree that the individual did something above and beyond at work that earned them that raise.
When you teach your kids that hard work and going the extra mile will bring them great rewards you are giving them important skills that will help them later in life. It is also important to teach your children to be gracious to others and when someone else is rewarded for hard work they should congratulate them and be supportive. Teaching your kids now that life should be fair but it is not always equal is a great way to build good character and prepare them for the real world.