Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's Not Fair

We hear that line all the time from Little Girl. Usually about the most ridiculous things. "It's not fair -- THAT little boy got a Tinkerbell wand and Tinkerbell is MY favorite." (Heard at Disney on Ice show...) "It's not fair, I want another Webkinz!" (How many Webkinz do you have?? "Only 8 or 9!") The best one was when Baby Boy was allowed to eat bread for the first time at a restaurant (milk allergy he's finally outgrown) -- Little Girl scarfed down seven slices of bread and then was stopped because, 1) other people wanted bread too, and 2) she still had a meal coming to her! "It's not fair -- HE gets bread." As he sat there with his ONE piece of bread, first ever in his two years of life. Yes, it's not fair indeed.

She knows about children who have nothing. She even writes occasionally to my Compassion kids. She fills shoeboxes at Christmas. She does get it. But that all goes out the window when she doesn't get what she wants, and suddenly everything is unfair.

This morning, I felt like saying it. The nursery worker in Baby Boy's class has been bringing the toddlers out into church and seating them on the front row during the singing. From where we sit, we have the perfect view of Baby Boy, and we love watching him. This morning, however, we saw the little boy next to him start poking him. Baby Boy shrugged away at first, then as the child continued to poke and then hit at him, Baby Boy tried to block him and push his hands away. He then scooted as far down the pew as he could and the other boy followed him, still hitting. Meanwhile, the nursery worker was singing and completely oblivious to the entire situation. The moment Baby Boy had finally had enough and reached out to hit the other child back is of course the moment that the nursery worker finally looked down. "Now HE'S going to get in trouble!" gasped my mother in a whisper, next to me, and sure enough, the worker started shaking her finger at Baby Boy and scolding him.

Not fair. Not fair at all.

I'm getting ready to bring children in my home to whom "it's not fair" has such a different meaning. The people they were supposed to be able to trust have hurt them. It's not fair. Through no fault of their own, they've been taken away from everyone and everything they loved: their parents, their grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, friends, neighbors, teachers, classmates, pets, favorite toys, their house. Everything.

I hadn't really thought before of how significant their losses are. It's hard to lose someone close to you. It's even harder to have two or three losses back to back. But to lose everything, all at once? Devastating.

It's not fair. I hope that once these children enter my life, and our lives, that Little Girl begins to realize what we try to tell her now, but it goes in one ear and out the other. Life isn't fair. You can bemoan the unfairness of it and wallow in your misery for the rest of your life, or you can accept that life isn't fair, accept your challenges, and move on.

That's what I hope to impress upon my own children. And that's what I hope Little Girl can learn from them.

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