What’s Fair?

“But that’s not FAIR mom!”

Enter the basic Canadian sense of fairness to torpedo progress once again…

We have four daughters and are prepared every time one of the girls receives a concession, gift, compliment or favour to hear from the others “Where’s mine? That’s not Fair!” My response is usually “life isn’t fair guys:) You want the same thing? Go get it.”

A duty exists in the minds of Canadians that the playing field must be level at any cost, that equal opportunity is the same thing as equal results and must be treated the same?

But what if one of my girls works harder than the others and gets a result they don’t? If I fail to reward that one more than the others, do I not run the risk of keeping them from a destiny they could actually be proud of?

One employee is given a promotion and the outcry from the others? “That’s not FAIR!”. One company is given a contract and… One group given public praise and… One person wins a medal and…

We truly live in the day of levelling, but not levelling the playing field of opportunity, but the score clock, but there’s a night and day difference between the two.

Now maybe your dad was an insanely competitive psycho with a temper and pushed you too hard in hockey to realize his disappointed dreams of not making the big leagues? Your natural reaction might be to put your kids in fun hockey and that’s terrific. That’s not what I’m talking about.

I’m finding that our tendency now is a very socialistic one whose tendency is to remove the score clock altogether, but I would suggest that if we don’t teach our kids to keep score somewhere they will be ill prepared for the real world.

In the real world your employer doesn’t care if you “find yourself” at her business.

In the real world nobody’s kids go to college if you fail to bring the contract into your company.

In the real world you don’t (and it should be mentioned shouldn’t) marry your mom, who has this tendency to love you no matter what, and accept your ridiculous behaviour unconditionally. You don’t work for your mom. Nobody automatically likes you because they gave birth to you and have to because of what you cost them.


Your wife certainly won’t. You actually have to act like a grown up unless you enjoy sleeping on the couch.


My oldest girl has nearly unrestricted access to driving one of our vehicles. Why? Because she has a license and a pulse? Not in my home. She has the privilege because she’s earned it. And she can unearn it in about two seconds of not paying attention on the road, or with an error in judgement.

My next girl will be in a sort of competition with how well the first one has done. Ailish is a very different person than Arwen and I don’t expect her to excel, or maybe more accurately to be gifted in the same ways, but that’s not what we’re talking about.

We’re talking about learning a life skill called driving that nearly everyone is capable of learning, IF they want to work hard.

Ailish may have to work harder because she has more of a tendency to panic than her sister. But the bar itself will be in the same place: Be safe for others and a productive driver!

The bar in industry is in the same place.

The bar in a marriage is in the same place.

The bar in parenting is in the same place.

And it must be RESULTS driven, not an emotionally manipulative “anything goes because I’m a human and you make me feel bad when you suggest I’m not amazing!”.

It’s called competition, and it makes us better.

I don’t think with our change of provincial government anybody doubts our economy will become much more competitive? There’s another alternative to competition, and that’s a parallel reality where everyone loses. Everyone loses in marriage. Everyone loses their jobs. Everyone loses the morality of their kids.

Then we can all be equally miserable. But at least the person who failed because they didn’t give it everything they had will have some company. Be careful however, they will always blame the field for not being level.

I would suggest that great people are not born but rather MADE. I would also suggest that the greatest people the world has ever seen were rarely born with the silver spoon of fairness, results, opportunity or anything else.

Great people have simply learned to play on whatever field they find themselves on rain or shine, with whatever teammates they’re with today, married to the one they’re with and not the one they start wishing they were with (you’ll find out they’re just as human).

Great people are looking not for a personal win, but a win for their team whether their teammates are perfect humans or not. And when they win they give it away, they change it for the generation following.

Martin Luther King Jr was not born in perfect times, but I shudder to think what would have been if he would have sat down and whined about it. He competed against the baser instincts of mankind and called us to something higher.

He fought with the weapons he had. He put up with injustice to influence those who disagreed with him. He refused to take no for an answer. He preached one of the greatest sermons of all time and was murdered for his trouble.

He had to choose between what was fair for himself and what was right for you.

There are so many times you can’t have both.

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