Is it more important to be 'fair' or 'consistent' ?

January 10th, 2010 by Gallagher John No Comments

I posted this question recently on my Facebook page:  “Is it more important to be ‘fair’ or ‘consistent’?  I received several responses like the ones below:

  •  “being consistent is fair”
  •  “I think I would hope fair”
  •  “how about being consistently fair?”

Some thought it was a trick question.  It was not, but I was curious. 

As a parent (you can substitute the word LEADER anywhere I put parent), one of the statements I sometimes hear is “That’s not fair!”  Are there any parents out there who have NOT heard this?  If so, please let me know your secret.

In any event, I believe the answer to whether it is more important to be fair or consistent lies in BOUNDARIES.  What boundaries have you set up front?  Allow me to use one example that I use with my sons, Brendan and Joseph.  We have set boundaries for being ready for school, giving the kids freedom to wake up when they want.  They each have their own alarm clock, BUT we have set up boundaries.  They MUST be downstairs and prepared to go to school by 7:15.  Prepared means bed made, dirty clothes taken to laundry, teeth brushed and deodorant on, dressed, and school supplies packed.  If they are not down by 7:15, they lose TV privileges for the evening.  If they come down ready at 7:16, is it ‘fair’ that they are not allowed to watch TV that evening?  It might not seem fair, right?  “But, dad, I am only one minute late”.  You can insert your own response here!  Then, as a parent (leader) you must follow through with the consequence, or the consistency goes away and it no longer IS fair.  This is an overly simple example that describes my response to the question.

If I set the boundaries up front, am consistent with disciplining to those boundaries – giving you the freedom to make it happen – then, I am doing my part as a parent/leader.  I think it is more important to be ‘consistent’ to ensure ‘fair’ness.  AND, it really does remind me of another statement my mom would make to me – “Life’s not fair.”  So true. 

Have a great week.

So, do you have a story about fair or consistent you would like to share?  Please comment below.