Every parent has heard one or more of their children protest, “It’s Not Fair” loudly and often. The protested issue could be assigned homework, who got the better Christmas presents, bedtime, why you won’t buy them the car they want–you name it and it has been deemed to be unfair.
Every parent has responded in the same, correct way, “Life is not fair.” A tough, vital lesson. Have we forgotten that piece of hard-to-take wisdom?
Today’s Key Question: When unpleasant events and circumstances are dropped into our laps, whether we are fully, partially, or not at all at fault, what are our first thoughts? Where do we turn for remedies?
That is the subject of today’s 10-minute episode.
One of my favorite stories involves a parent travelling with three young children in the back seat of the family car. The Mom broke a candy bar into three pieces, and offered them to the kids. Each child fussed and complained that their piece was not as large as the others. The Mom scooped up the pieces, aligned them at the bottom, bit off the tops so that they were all exactly equal, and handed them back. Each child got less, but by golly they were all equal.
I heard a surprisingly similar conversation on talk radio; the issue was single-payer healthcare. The guest was supporting the Canadian model, going back and forth with a caller about how long it took to be approved for and schedule surgical procedures. After several heated back-and-forths, the guest said, “I don’t care how long it takes, as long as everyone has to wait the same amount of time.” Said, differently, “I don’t care if I get less candy, as long as no one gets more than I do.”
Everything must be fair and equitable under the law. No one would question that. My take is that we are there now; we are all equal under the law. Do you also believe that? If not, do you have examples of where the law as written unfairly discriminates? But if by “fair” we mean that our circumstances need to be equal or nearly equal to that of others, life is indeed not fair. Nor should it be. Still a valuable and vital lesson. Here are just three places where our circumstances are different, often very different.
- Education. Some are born into families where it is routine to pay for private schools up to and through graduate school. Is anyone for trying to make those circumstances equal? And some are born into families where education is respected, and the children are encouraged to work hard to get a good one. That one is free, and at the same time invaluable. I was “privileged” to have been born into the latter type of family, not the former.
- Dinner table. Some families share wisdom, humor, and lessons about life, both in general and with specific lessons for the years their children are with them. That is a powerfully rich blessing. And other kids do not have that advantage, that privilege.
- Abilities. All of us have different bodies, intellects and abilities, with wildly varying life possibilities depending on what we are blessed with.
These were just three examples of where life is not fair. And there are many, many more–virtually endless examples. But so what? Pay no attention; let’s shake it off, and get on with maximizing what we have. When we do that, we will all find that what we have is more than enough. More than enough.
This takes us to what our expectations are with the COVID-related disruptions. How many of us are expecting the government to make us whole for any financial losses we might incur as a result of restrictive regulations? Many people whose financial circumstances have not changed are still getting stimulus checks. For example, virtually no government workers have been furloughed, but they are still eligible for the money. And half of those unemployed will get more for not working than they did working. “About half of all US workers will earn more in unemployment benefits than they did before the pandemic.” -Wall Street Journal Come the time, how are we going to get those lucky ones back to work?
How many remember the loud complaining, fanned by the media, by some of the National Guard troops who were called up to serve in Iraq? They were demanding that their mortgages be paid while they were serving full-time. Their argument was that since they got paid much less when on active duty, that their mortgages should be paid for them. The other, better argument, is that they signed up to serve in return for defined benefits, including annual pay and benefits, and generous retirement pay and benefits. All while knowing that they could be called up to active service any time.
Here’s a review of Today’s Key Question: When unpleasant events and circumstances are dropped into our laps, whether we are fully, partially, or not at all at fault, what are our first thoughts? Where do we turn for remedies? Perhaps especially during a crisis.
Today’s Key Answer. It is always 100 % up to us. Always. Revolution 2.0™ readers and listeners will have guessed the answer; it is part of our core philosophy.
This belief, this conviction, does not mean that outside help is to be shunned; it does mean that we are in control, that we are responsible, that we are all the masters of our destinies. And that is where our focus and thinking should always be. Must always be.
When the corona dust settles, some of us will come out ahead, some will break even, some will take a loss. However things are for us, it must not determine how we see life, and how we see our roles in our lives. Don’t think about how big someone else’s candy bar is compared to ours. Let’s focus on what we have, and how to take care of ourselves and those for whom we are privileged to be responsible.
As we get ready to wrap up, please do respond in the episodes with comments or questions about this episode or anything that comes to mind, or connect with me on Twitter,@willluden, Facebook, facebook.com/will.luden, and LinkedIn, www.linkedin.com/in/willluden/. And you can subscribe on your favorite device through Apple, Google, or Stitcher.
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Will Luden, coming to you from 7,200’ in Colorado Springs.
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