There are a series of pictures I’ve seen that illustrate the difference between what is fair and what is equal. It can be a difficult concept to grasp, especially in our current climate.
Three kids are standing behind a fence trying to watch a baseball game. The three kids are different sizes ranging from tall, to medium, to short.
The second picture shows the same kids behind the same fence watching the same baseball game, but in this instance, they stand on boxes. The boxes are all the same size, indicating that each kid is getting equal treatment. However, the tall kid and the medium kid see just fine, but because the short kid has a box that isn’t large enough, he still can’t see. Equal, but not necessarily fair.
The third picture shows yet the same kids behind the same fence watching the same baseball game, but this time each kid is given a different size box to stand on. The tall kid receives a box but it is smallest of the three boxes, but he can see just fine. The medium kid receives a slightly larger box than the taller kid, so he sees the game just fine. And the smallest kid receives a large box to stand on so he is at the same height as the tall and medium-sized kids and because of this, he sees the baseball game comfortably. In fact, in this picture, all three are standing at an equal height, so each can watch the same baseball game comfortably without any obstruction. Fair, but not necessarily equal.
Fair and equal.
Each child receives what he or she needs to succeed.
This morning I spent time on the phone with a concerned and frustrated parent because of a decision I made. Not the first time that happened and I’m sure it won’t be the last. The interpretation the parent wanted was the “letter of the law” because it is written and is black and white with no wiggle room.
Hmmm . . .
I’ve never claimed to be Solomon nor claimed to have his wisdom or brilliance. I’m just a guy and I’m sure if others were in my shoes, perhaps a different decision might have been made. Probably so because there are others a whole lot smarter than I am.
But I don’t see things as black and white. I see black and white with gradations of gray. I live in the world of gray. Always have and I know it can drive some folks a bit crazy. You know, the consistency thing.
I have several favorite psychologists and clinicians I’ve studied and read over the years. One of them, Alfred Adler, was paraphrased by a professor of mine while I was obtaining my first M.S., that one in Counseling. He said, “If the shirt doesn’t fit, don’t wear it.”
Great advice, but what if it’s the only shirt you have?
I think all decisions, big and small, need to be tempered by not only with what is fair and not only with what is equal with mostly with an eye on what is the most loving thing that can be done in any situation.
What is the most loving thing that can be done?
For some, we try to make it as fair as we can and this might mean that we aren’t treating some equally. But if we allow the question: “What is the most loving thing that can be done?” to influence that decision, how can we possibly go wrong? To me, love has a much higher rank than fair or equal. Just because something is written in black and white doesn’t mean it is necessarily right or necessarily fair or necessarily equal. Don’t accept the shirt if it doesn’t fit. Rather, If The Shirt Doesn’t Fit, get a new shirt. Just sayin’. Something to think about . . .
Live Your Life, and Make A Difference!
To My Readers:
I have great news!
My fifth work of thriller/suspense fiction, Caught in a Web will be published by Black Rose Writing in April of 2018. While I complete the necessary edits and wait, I am finishing up my sixth, Spiral Into Darkness. As always, I will keep you posted on the progress of Caught in a Web and Spiral Into Darkness.
Please feel free to connect with me at:
Twitter at @jrlewisauthor
Facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/Joseph.Lewis.Author
If you like Thriller/Suspense fiction, check out my novels:
Available on Amazon for .99 the Lives Trilogy Prequel, Taking Lives:
FBI Agent Pete Kelliher and his partner search for the clues behind the bodies of six boys left in various and remote parts of the country. Even though they don’t know one another, the lives of FBI Agent Kelliher and two boys become interwoven with the same thread that Pete Kelliher holds in his hand. The three of them are on a collision course and when that happens, their lives are in jeopardy as each search for a way out. http://bit.ly/Taking-Lives-JLewis
Stolen Lives, Book One of the Lives Trilogy:
Two thirteen-year-old boys are abducted off a safe suburban street. Kelliher and his team of FBI agents have 24 hours to find them or they’ll end up like all the others- dead! They have no leads, no clues, and nothing to go on. And the possibility exists that one of his team members might be involved. http://bit.ly/Stolen-Lives-JLewis
Shattered Lives, Book Two of the Lives Trilogy:
Six desperate and violent men escape. One of them stands in a kitchen facing a 14 year-old-boy with a gun. There are many reasons for the boy to pull the trigger. Mainly, the man had started it all. http://bit.ly/Shattered-Lives-J-Lewis
Splintered Lives, Book Three of the Lives Trilogy:
A 14 year-old-boy is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. High up on an Arizona mesa, he faces three desperate and dangerous men in hopes of saving his father and his brothers. http://bit.ly/Splintered-Lives-J-Lewis