“It’s not fair!”
We would be wealthy if we had a dollar for every time that phrase was uttered by our kids! Of course we told them over and over and over, “Life isn’t fair,” and yet how hard we worked as parents to make life fair for our kids. Especially at Christmas. Why? Because we wanted them to know we loved them all the same.
Christmas is coming, so how do you handle the gift question? Whether you buy your kids gifts abundantly or sparsely my guess is you buy them or make them with equity. It’s the same with birthday parties. Parents usually feel the need to spend equal time and money per child. It’s our desire as moms and dads to communicate equal love to our children. It’s how we say to them, “You are equally valuable to us.”
We all know the story of Joseph and how favoritism in that family spawned huge issues. But that family teaches more than the evils of favoritism. Jacob’s children show how each of us longs to be the favorite in any setting in the family or outside the family. We want to know we are valued as an individual. That part is good. The bad part is we too often want to experience worth at another’s expense. It’s why our kids often cried, “It’s not fair.” With the eye of a detective they were quick to spot inequality in how we and others related to them.
What’s interesting to me about this fairness issue is that we try so hard to accomplish something inherently impossible. No matter how hard we may try we will not love our children equally. We are not capable. We can’t see all sides of an issue. We often times do not know what is best. We are clearly not like God who is perfectly just and therefore “there is NO UNFAIRNESS possible with Him,” wrote A.W. Tozer.
Every Christmas our children studied their gifts in relation to their siblings to see who fared the best. I know because I did it as a child, too. Take this penchant for self-focus that is present in your children and you every day, but is heightened at Christmas, and turn it into an opportunity to teach the unchangeableness of God. Teach “God shows no partiality.” (Gal. 2:6) Tell your kids that though your desire is to love them perfectly and justly, that you cannot. You will fail. Point them to God. It is what the season is all about.