Yes, that’s a fact of life. The race of our lives isn’t run on an equal, level playing field. There are many factors that determine where we begin our journey through life, including:
Family wealth (having tutors, getting your college tuition paid, never worrying about your next meal, etc.)
Parental support (some have never known loving, supporting parents)
Natural athletic ability
There are many aspects of life that children have no control over. They’ll face challenges that have nothing to do with any behaviors or decisions they’ve made. We should remind them that, while this is true, there are factors within their power that, when put to work, will narrow and close the gap. Their work ethic, persistence, determination and willingness to build valuable relationships are just some of the tools they can use to improve themselves and their condition.
There will always be people who begin life ahead of us, and there are those who start out behind us. The sooner a child understands and accepts that fact, the better off they’ll be to face the real world. We shouldn’t hide this essential truth from them, because they’ll discover it on their own very quickly as they grow and start interacting with their peers. They may have a more difficult road than some of their classmates who start out advantaged. This doesn’t mean they can’t accomplish what they set out to do. By developing the work ethic, desire and drive to achieve their goals, they’ll build the character and fortitude — the passion — necessary to face any challenge, even over their peers who had “all the advantages.”
We have no choice about where we come into this world, and we have few choices during our first few years. As we become teenagers and adults, however, our choices become almost unlimited. We have substantial ability to influence many of our personal outcomes based on our daily actions, behaviors and attitudes. Think of the millions of people who overcome poverty, addictions, abuse, divorce, physical and mental illness — almost every challenge known to mankind — who have gone on to life their best life and achieve their dreams.
The first time we hear our child, or a child we’re involved in raising, say “that’s not fair” or “life’s not fair,” my mentors believe we should tell them, “Yes, you’re correct.” Then, share with them how to move beyond this. Let them know how millions of people around the world have created an “unfair” advantage through hard work, a positive mindset, an eagerness for learning and persistence — in other words, living a Theory of 5 life.