“Dad, someone else did my chores!” I proclaimed in a loud, whiney voice. My working assumption was that since my much easier chores for this week were completed by someone else this naturally translated into me having to do the more difficult chores.
I anticipated my dad’s response would be something along the lines of, “Just do the chores that need to get done.” However, uncharacteristically instead he said, “Do whatever you think is fair.”
Ever since President Biden announced student debt loan relief there has been a lot of chatter both on social media and in passing conversations. One of the primary presenting issues that is getting energy is the ‘fairness’ of forgiving the loans:
“Sure doesn’t seem fair to all the rest of us who had to pay back our student loans!”
“Certainly not fair to those of us who couldn’t afford to go to college and couldn’t get loans. Are we going to get some money as well?!”
“It’s not fair that I figured out how to pay for college and now I have pay for other people’s college education!”
There is also the other side of the narrative from individuals who are benefiting from the loan debt relief:
“I would not of been able to afford college without student loans. And since graduating from college those loans, even with a decent job, make it hard for me to afford much more than the basics. This debt relief is a game changer.”
The reality is, ‘fairness’ is tricky, so let’s do some word work with Webster:
Fair: “marked by impartiality and honesty : free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism”
Folks often use ‘fair’ when in fact they may be really talking about:
Equity: “justice according to natural law or rights specifically : freedom from bias or favoritism”
Parity: “the quality or state of being equal or equivalent”
Justice: “the principle or ideal of just dealing or right action”
Love: “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties”
And then there is another reality that is when individuals use ‘fair’ but the place they’re coming from is really about jealousy or envy or, “I suffered, so they should as well.”
Finally, what may be most challenging about ‘fairness’ is that we rarely know the full backstory of the facts and context of any given situation. As such, if we decide to go down the road of judging ‘fairness’, we would be best served to really seek out the deepest understanding of the situation. That is what love looks like.
One went and squandered all the inheritance – the other stayed home and worked hard…in the end, both were loved exactly the same.