Thursday, June 24, 2010

Right, Wrong and Fair

This morning I was dealing with an issue that involved my two children ages 10 & 12 and it hit me that the ideas of right, wrong and most importantly fair are much more subjective than I thought. What really made my mind tick was that fairness is probably one of the most important concepts to have in your life but many times what seems fair to you, doesn’t seem fair to others.

Certainly, at the child level fair is much more selfish than it is as an adult. I mean by the time we all grow up, we know how to judge things fairly, how to be fair and how to drive towards fairness, right? We know how to avoid taking advantage of people or situations, we know how to allow people to have their own voices or opinions, heck we even know how to merge two lanes of traffic into one, right? So knowing all of this is great, but acting on this may be a whole nother story.

Maybe I’m confusing fair with polite or even just. Or maybe I’m thinking that fair should have a higher priority in our lives. When I think of war and conflict, I can’t help but think that both sides think they’re right, but I have a tough time thinking that both sides believe they’re being fair. I mean isn’t war typically started with someone thinking, ‘Hey, you have what I want!’? That doesn’t sound fair to me.

So as a parent teaching my children about right, wrong and fair is much more difficult than I thought. You have to consider their point of view, their perspective and their feelings. You have to look at a conflict through their eyes and then you have to figure out how to teach them that the world isn’t fair. However, you also want to teach them to act and treat each other fair. A parent’s job isn’t easy, in fact you could say that it isn’t fair.

What do you think?


  1. Mike

    First of all congratulations on your new blog! Your insights are very thought provoking intelligent and might I add, very sincere.

    Right, wrong and fair? Overall, I believe that the great challenge as a parent, a citizen and as a human is to strive to understand that we are all in this together and that what might be right for me is wrong for someone else and how do I accept and understand what might be right for the whole and not just the individual. This issue has plagued man kind (I am sure) since we first stood on two feet as a creature and determined who got the best and most of the fallen beast from that days hunt. There is always those who want more, need more and demand more. Usually this goes to the most powerful in nature. Man (in my opinion) is tasked to rise above their nature. Ultimately this requires a faith in a higher purpose, a higher being that would guide and direct our actions. Much as a parent can see (or should try at least to see) all sides of our children's issues when they may argue or battle over an issue, a supreme being (Lets call that being GOD) would be in a position to see and appreciate all sides of everyone's issues and know what is the betterment for the whole verses the individual. In my opinion, we need to spend more time on determining what is right and what is "fair" based on the teachings of The Divine and less on the secular aspects of human law and primal influences of the powerful and strong. We will then understand and appreciate what is right and what is fair, regardless of what we individually my desire or feel is best for us alone.

  2. Randy,

    I appreciate your thoughts on this and you've introduced a very powerful energy on this topic, the supreme being. Some say part of our downfall is the diminishing role of God and religion in our society and that certainly is possible maybe even probable.

    Do people of faith, choose what is more fair out of intellect or fear of punishment? If we have the influence of a higher power in our day to day lives, and we can define right, wrong and fair, don't we still need the internal drive to do what's right? Finally, are unfair thoughts permissible provided they don't become reality?

  3. I believe that a person of true solid faith would choose fairness not based on fear or intellect, at least in the classic understanding of what intellect is. A person of faith would choose fairness based on their conscience; that unseen, unexplainable gut feeling that what you are doing is right even if your head (brain) might be telling you otherwise. The brain is a secondary organ. A person of faith decides with their soul not their intellect alone. Both must work in concert with the soul leading the way then the brain finding a way to execute on the decision.

  4. What may seem to be RIGHT may not be CORRECT. That's a lesson I learned early. Likewise, what may be correct may not seem right.

    My own sense of righteousness gets in my way too often. The person who cuts me off in traffic. How do I react? Fact is we don't know the other's point of view. Is that person on his way to an emergency room? Forgiveness is best.

    Forgiveness is the most powerful gift we have. Forgiveness is as important for the offender as for the one offended. Forgiveness doesn't imply that I believe you were right in what you did - however it is wrong of me to throw the entire relationship out for one action. We are, after all, here to serve one another.

  5. Mike, Randy, Mark,

    as you would know Mike, I'm coming from the faith side of things....

    It is easy for me to figure out what is right or wrong - i do it based on what God tells me (like Randy suggested would be best). I have yet to hit a situation where it wasn't clear when i understood th truth (and I'm open to any situation you would like to suggest to test this). Now, I have hit situations where I thought something was right and later found out I wasn't - but God has not been wrong.

    But the main topic, fairness, like you pointed out - that is subjective. Again - from faith I've learned that fairness is simply a subset of love. I'm taught to act in love - and if i act in love I am going to be fair. Simple eh? :-)

    I love the concept in your last paragraph pesta - looking through other people's eyes - being understanding and empathetic. It is very hard - and it is not taught by parents to their children too often. Why? Cause it is hard.