Once my 2 kids were old enough to speak, they quickly realized they had become able to blame and tattle on others (specifically, EACH other). As parents, the ultimate dispensers of justice and, as required, punishment, in the household, my wife and I were constantly called upon to settle matters fairly. After a brief honeymoon period in this role, I realized that I was doing my children no favors by handling situations in an utterly fair and logical manner - after all, was the "real" world based on such fairness and logic? Absolutely not! So my mission shifted to preparing them for that cruel, cunning, survival-of-the-fittest mentality, as I did not wish to see my innocent babies devoured alive by such a hostile and unforgiving environment. They quickly adjusted, taking to my entreaties of "who ever promised that things would be fair? Life isn't fair! You need to be able to handle unfair situations on your own! DEAL WITH IT!"
After feeling better about my handiwork, I recently came across some advice from a spiritual source: the home should be a safe place, a fair place, a place where children can be taught the concepts of justice and kindness in dealing with others, since the external environments that they undoubtedly find themselves in are outside of a parent's control and are no place to learn such things. Man, did I feel like a loser. Although I constantly do my best to set a good example for my children, to show them how to treat others with respect and compassion (and honesty and fairness), I could see how they might take my problem-solving words to heart about "life not being fair" and apply that to the frontier that is the playground. Fortunately they are still considered model children by many (hopefully all) of our friends, family, and acquaintances, and seem to have a deeply ingrained sense of what is right and wrong and how to treat others (even though it's hard to do sometimes). But to the title of this post, am I raising a couple of wusses? Will they grow up to be idealistic losers who get walked all over and taken advantage of by unfair and unjust sharks? And more to the point, is it better to be that idealistic person who's occasionally victimized or taken advantage of by others than to be the one doing the exploiting and the gaining? I believe it is. Such is the way of this world, and hopefully my children can enjoy it as much as I have in spite of those realities.