God’s not fair, and it’s a good thing He’s not. But what does that mean for us as teachers and parents? Should we still be fair in dealing with our students and children?
I think the Biblical answer is no – and also yes.
If you haven’t ready my last post, God’s Not Fair, take a minute and read it. Before we can really determine the role fairness plays in our classrooms and homes, we have to first understand God’s view of fairness. In short, while He is no respecter of persons, He doesn’t treat us all the same. He works in each life individually, He doesn’t punish us as we deserve, and He gives us more blessings than we merit.
But isn’t it all-important to be fair with our students and children? I know I’ve heard over and over how important it is to be fair, how much children resent unfair treatment, and how treating students differently can result in disaster.
But is that thinking Biblical or just popular?
As we examine Scripture and seek to apply it, I believe 3 principles about fairness emerge:
- We should never play favorites. Since the Bible is clear that God is no respecter of persons (Acts 10:34, Col. 3:25), we shouldn’t be either. That means that we should never give a student special treatment because we know their mom, we’re afraid of their dad, or we just really like them. We should never have a favorite child or a teacher’s pet. On the other hand, we also shouldn’t be more harsh on the one kid who is absolutely driving us crazy, who has poor hygiene, or who comes from a rough background.
We should never treat our students or children differently because of how we feel about them, but….
- We should treat our students or children differently when it’s for their good. No two kids are exactly alike. Both in the home and in the classroom, the differences between children can be profound. What is an effective motivator for one may not matter one bit to another. And when one student crosses a line, you may feel led to take a different approach than you normally do.
And that’s okay. We need to be more concerned about what is best for a child than what is “fair.” If God treats us as individuals and works in each life as He knows is best, wouldn’t we do well to follow His example?
I just think that we need to free ourselves from the fear of always having to be fair. Sometimes a student needs some mercy, even though we didn’t extend it to another student. And if you see a gift that would be perfect for one of your children, should you really not buy it just because you don’t have enough money to buy 3 more for the rest of your kids?
But what will the other kids say? I’m glad you asked because that brings me to my third point…..
- We need to teach our students and children to have a Biblical view of fairness. Kids (and us adults too) tend to think that everything should be fair. We see what others have and think we deserve it too. But there’s one big problem with this thought.
We don’t deserve anything good.
We’re sinners. If things were fair, we’d all be in hell right now. And we certainly wouldn’t be living in America with full stomachs and beautiful houses while fellow Christians are hungry in Africa or being persecuted in Pakistan.
If other kids are frustrated that we gave someone mercy when they didn’t receive it or that someone else got a gift that they didn’t, we need to use that opportunity to teach them these truths. We need to remind them that there are times when they receive grace or get a gift that others don’t. We need to teach them to rejoice with those who rejoice and to realize how blessed they are. We need to teach them that the reason life is not fair is that it would be pretty awful if it were.
What do you think? Do you agree that we shouldn’t always be fair or do you have a different opinion? Click here to leave a comment.