Are the gifts for the children fair? Are they equal?
Well they are equal in number and in money spent, so yes, they are fair.
But do they ‘look’ fair?
Well, they don’t ‘look’ the same as one has a big box and the other does not. So in that sense they ‘look’ unfair.
And do you think the kids will think it’s fair?
Well that’s the big unknown. One of them wouldn’t even notice, the other compares every little detail…
Fairness. It’s definitely a topic of conversation in our house at the moment. But as the above illustrates, fairness is not as straightforward as we think. If we could all agree on what the criteria for judging, then fairness becomes easier. However, fairness is often in the eye of the beholder.
Because we deal with humans so many things in life are like fairness – there are different ways to define them. Change, efficiency, effectiveness, equality, awareness, communication, portability, love, kindness, and so on. Much of life is defined in the ‘eye of the beholder’ which requires us to listen to the other, to understand how they define things, rather than assume our definition is theirs.
The thing is that there isn’t just one definition as there isn’t just one beholder. So perhaps the best thing we can do is listen to each other rather than rush to judgement.