Falling into Potholes

If you’ve been around children you’ve likely heard “no fair!” shouted in anger or frustration, or whispered with tears running down the child’s face.

“No fair” is only six letters, but when uttered in pain reads more like,
“why me?”
“why not me?”
“why am I the one who’s left out?”
“why didn’t I get that chance (or thing or experience)?”
“No fair” translates into “I don’t like it and I don’t understand it.”

As adults, we often don’t understand why something happens.

Children want to feel that they’re as important as everyone else. In some families, one child is favored over another. Maybe that child’s prettier, smarter or funnier. Perhaps the child has special needs—or simply different needs. The child, who isn’t getting what seems fair, however, only knows that he or she feels “less than”.

As adults, we want the same thing—to feel like we’re “just as important”.

Children compare themselves to their siblings, cousins, and friends. You might hear, “it’s not fair that Mike has a brand-new baseball bat and I’m using his old one”.

As adults, we compare ourselves to others too.

For some, the answer to a child’s “not fair” is, “life’s not fair, so get used to it!” or “life isn’t fair to me either”. We can try to explain why something is fair, but unless the child is old enough to be able to clearly hear what’s being said, all he or she knows is that something doesn’t “feel right”.

As adults, when we’re upset, hearing “life isn’t fair” doesn’t help us either. We, too, don’t “feel right”.

Children often believe that fair and equal are the same thing, but that’s not true. Fair is freedom from injustice or bias. Equal is alike in degree or quantity.

As adults, we may understand that fair and equal aren’t alike, but we still want to feel like we’re treated fairly and equally.

Many of us get to adulthood still believing that life should be fair. We may have heard “what goes around, comes around”, but may not have ever witnessed the “coming around”.

As adults, we yell “no fair”—we just don’t necessarily use those two words. Instead, we say, “how could someone treat me that way?” or “what did I do to deserve that?” Then, if explaining how we feel gets swept under the proverbial rug, the pain is compounded. Feeling victimized could occur. (Some people actually define themselves by how unfair life has been to them.)

We don’t want our children to feel like they’re “victims” and nor should we. We need to acknowledge and honor our feelings, then move forward, recognizing that we have different values and different “rules of life”.  If you live in the “Land of No Fair”, come back to your life—not unscathed or unaffected, but with a resolve that you do matter, that your life has value, and that you are worthwhile.


On Monday, a man was walking down a road.  All of a sudden, he found himself at the bottom of a dark place and was scared. After several hours, he figured out that he had fallen into a very large pothole. He wasn’t able to get out on his own—it required a lot of help, and it was awful.

On Tuesday, the man was walking down the road and fell into the pothole again! This time he immediately knew where he was, but he still couldn’t get out alone.

On Wednesday, when he fell into the pothole for the third time, he remembered how to get out and, even though it was tough, did it on his own.

On Thursday, as the man approached the pothole, he remembered the last three falls. He even saw the pothole but fell in anyway. This time he knew exactly how to get out quickly.

On Friday, the man saw the pothole from a good distance away.  He felt proud of himself for recognizing it. It took a lot of concentration, but he managed to walk around it safely and didn’t fall in.

On Saturday…..the man took a different road.

This guy could have thought, “this sure isn’t fair—all I’m trying to do is walk down the road and I keep falling into a hole”. Instead, he learned that he had to make the “unfairness” go away by taking a different route—by taking a road that was a little less fraught with personal harm.

So, let’s avoid the potholes. Let’s walk another way. Let’s recognize what’s in front of us, then take the road that honors our spirits.

May your day be “pothole free”, filled with light, and overflowing with love and joy.

©peace full home®/intentional living


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