Saturday, February 28, 2009
Raising three boys has made be very cognizant of the concept of fairness. Each of them, over the years, has measured what they have got - be it Christmas presents, bowls of ice cream, or time with mum or dad - versus what their brother's have got. If somehow, something seems out of balance - or not 'equal' - they've been quick to point out that fact that it just isn't fair. Lisa and I played that game for a long time before we finally realized its tyranny. By attempting to be fair we reduced our relationships with the boys to being the same which, of course, they aren't.
When something isn't fair for us, its because we think we are not getting the same as someone else, the calls by the referee seem far more in the other team's favour. When we recognize unfairness on behalf of others its usually because they don't have the same as us. There have been many well intentioned protests, groups, and activities that have all worked to right the unfairness of situations or circumstance - people either wanting the same as someone else, or wanting someone else to have the same as them.
The problem is, life isn't fair. Opportunities, chances, circumstances, consequences all seem to be doled out like unequal pieces of the same pie. I know there are people that work in Hospital laundries for a living, it doesn't seem fair compared to how I make money - but there it is.
On a world scale this problem of fairness is even more acute. In the developed west, the world is tilted in our favour. Geography alone makes things unfair. We can't make the world fair, no matter how much we try. But, we do need to recognize that we have a much bigger slice of things here, and that there is a responsibility that goes a long with that.
We can also look at situations and circumstances that at first blush seem unfair - but in fact are much worse, they are unjust. Whether by Government policy, corporate greed, prejudice, or individual self interest oppression of people is happening, in our neighbourhoods, and around the world.
I get to enjoy the circumstances of an unfair world - by the consequences of where I was born. I recognize though that I am also enjoying the circumstances of an unjust world. While I don't consider myself an oppressor I potentially validate those who do from the clothes I wear, to the food I eat, to the investments I make.
I am concluding that the real responsibility that comes with living on the right side of the scale in this unfair world - is to do whatever I can, with the resources I have, to live justly, and seek justice on behalf of others.