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It Just Ain’t Fair: Through the Eyes of a 7 Year Old

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By Donald J. Smith

One day at school, Mrs. Graves, my second grade, teacher talked about the word “fair.” I immediately gave my definition for this word. I didn’t even have to use a dictionary. Boy was I ever smart!! The word fair, to me, meant I would get whatever I wanted whenever I wanted it. It also meant if I did not want to do something, I didn’t have to.

That same year, I often heard my parents talking to their friends, and they would say, “Children learn the majority of what they need by age 7.” With this in mind, I told Mom and Dad that I wasn’t going to school anymore. I knew enough, and I was 7. They didn’t agree with me and said, “You must go to school.” It just ain’t fair.

I wanted new clothes, a new bike, a new baseball glove, and a new sled. Many of my friends got whatever they wanted. Mom and Dad said, “We do not have the money to buy these items right now.” It just ain’t fair.

Mom and Dad made me do chores, and I was only given a nickel allowance. Some of my friends, whose parents were rich, didn’t have to do any chores, and their parents gave them a 50 cent allowance. It just ain’t fair. I remember many times wanting Mom to bake her great chocolate chip cookies, blueberry muffins, hot homemade bread, or make me the sandwich I loved: tuna fish with extra mayonnaise. Unfortunately, sometimes she said that she was too busy and had made other food. Some of my friends said, “In times like this, my parents would just order the food from the bakery or grocery store.” It just ain’t fair.

Mom & Dad knew I loved to stay in bed, but they always made me go to church on Sunday. During Sunday School, Miss Fitts reminded us that we were all equal in God’s eyes. She believed that the word equal was kind of like the word fair that Mrs. Graves talked about in school. Some of my friends didn’t have to go to church if they did not want to. It just ain’t fair.

Mom and Dad told me that I must share things with others and help out others, particularly the older people in our neighborhood. Some of my friends told me that their parents didn’t make them share things with others, and they didn’t need to help out others. It just ain’t fair.

Mom and Dad always made me say “please” and “thank you” whenever I wanted something or received a gift. Some of my friends received better gifts than I did, and their parents didn’t make them say “please” and “thank you.” It just ain’t fair.

The day finally came, and I realized that life at my house when I was 7 wasn’t fair. Some of my friends had nicer homes, nicer clothes, new bikes, and more money than we had. Also, some of my rich classmates got whatever they wanted, and all they had to do was ask for it. I had the solution. I told Mom I was moving out of the house. The timing was right. Dad was working at the mill. Mom said, “Jimmy go pack your bags, and you can leave.” After packing my suitcase, I left the house and walked halfway down our hilly road. I didn’t have a bike, and it was a long way to my friend’s house. Mom didn’t even pack me a lunch. I sat along the roadside constantly looking back at my house. I knew Mom would miss me and come and get me. I really thought Mom would say, “Mom and Dad will treat you the way you think is fair.” Boy, was I wrong. Mom never came. I was cold and hungry, and I returned home and told Mom I was thinking about returning home. She said, ”Jimmy you know Mom and Dad love you, but no matter what you or your friends think is fair, you must follow our rules, which are fair.” In a stern voice, she said, “Do you understand me?” I said, “Yes, but please don’t tell Dad what I did.”

This could have been avoided if I would have listened to Mrs. Graves and Miss Fitts and looked up the words FAIR and SELFISH in my junior dictionary. I would have seen how fortunate I was to have caring parents who wanted me to grow up and become a caring person. My eyes would have been opened, and I would have seen that what I believed was fair was just me being selfish.

Now that I am older, I have friends who are poor but always seem to be happy. I also have friends who are wealthy, and I often hear them say they never have enough. When I ask them about their friends, family, and faith, they often say, “We are just too busy.”

Please take time not to be too busy. Also, take time to smell the roses. You might be chasing wrong things, which you see as fair, but they actually deny you what in life could really bring about fairness for you.

As part of our celebration of Month of the Military Child, we’re working with Operation In Touch & author Sarah Doran to give away 10 copies of her book, The Peppered Sky! Tap the link below to learn more and enter for your chance to win!

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