The importance of listening to your dad when you’re five

Equality. I hear this word a lot, at school, from my parents, from large corporations and politicians. I have come to link it with something good, something clean and uncorrupted. Equality, every individual as equal as they next, regardless of gender, race, religion, or orientation. It doesn’t  seem like a bad deal to me.

Not bad at all. I remember when I was little I would get so furious about fairness, about the fact that someone else got more than me, when my sister had to do less than me, but got more for it. I remember that tiny rage burning in my chest. I remember making my dad loose the will to live, I remember the words he said to me in an exasperated voice, I remember not having the faintest clue what he was talking about. At the time his words only confused me because I didn’t understand the base theory, but now, now that I’m older and I have more time to think and reflect I get it. I get that what my dad was telling me was that the world didn’t need to be fair, it just needed to be kind. He told me that I needed to think about my every action, because it always affected someone else. If I didn’t pick up that sock, someone else would have to. If I did a little more than Dora, then that might not be fair to me and she might not appreciate it, but I would still be lightening the load on her, and that, he told me, was kindness. I’m pretty sure that my dad is one of the kindest people I know.

Some people, some people I know, go through life believing that life ought to be fair, but its not. That is one of the few universal constants. Life is not going to treat you well just because your a good person. Let me tell you, the universe, the galaxy and everything is completely indifferent to how profound your love is. If it wants to rain on your wedding then it damn well will. Expecting it not to is like expecting a bull not to charge you because your a vegetarian.

I think that it is one of life’s greatest gifts that it isn’t fair, because if it was fair we would all get what we deserve and, quite frankly, I know what I deserve and I really don’t think its very necessary. I believe that the ambition of equality and fairness is probably a good thing, I mean, its a good thing to aspire to, but I just don’t think it as important as everyone makes it out to be. I rather be kind than equal. Any day.

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2 comments

  1. becalbury · November 26, 2014

    I like your words on kindness and fairness. I think there is more to equality than sameness, political and social equality is, to me, more like a form of respect and valuing of the person. So equal treatment may not mean the same treatment – after all, some need wheelchairs to get around and need ramps, those with cane may also need ramps, but some can use stairs to get into buildings that are above the ground level. You have a thoughtful dad, I think he would agree.

  2. lesley knapp · November 27, 2014

    The principle of loving kindness is a powerful tool to have as well. Not only doing acts of kindness but thinking loving kindness thoughts towards someone who you may be angry with or who you may be anxious about confronting, can alleviate some of those emotions. Beautifully written.

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