Sunday, January 25, 2009

Columnist Changes Tune in Tomorrow's Column in the Focus

Yesterday our Brian's Blog Team posted here some commentary about one of the op-ed pieces that is in today's News-Sentinel. It is interesting that in reading the team's commentary and then reading Joe Rector's column this morning that I then went to the Knoxville Knox County Focus website to read a preview of the newspaper that they will hit the streets with in the morning. And lo, and behold Rector is writing a different story in his column "It's Not Fair." While he doesn't address the situation directly from his Sentinel column. He acknowledges that in life mistakes happen. This is comforting because from his column in today's News Sentinel the team thought that Rector was portraying himself to be a perfect individual. Now, it appears that he simply writes one thing before he writes something totally different.

You can read Rector's column by going to the Focus website or read the column in it's entirity below.

Fair is defined as being marked by impartiality and honesty: free from self-interest, prejudice, or favoritism. It’s something most folks learn about throughout their lives. However, most often the fair is used with two other words in “It’s not fair.”

When we are children, the concept of “fair” is drilled into our little heads. Parents insist that we be fair in our play with brothers and sister and that we don’t allow self-interest to do something wrong when we must split a treat. Little by little, kids grasp the meaning of the word fair. Some learn it when they hear the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

As the years go on, the phrase “It’s not fair” enters our vocabularies. In school, kids are forever squawking about how unfair tests are. Teachers are blamed with their failure because they have given unfair tests, unfairly made accusations of misbehavior, or moved unruly students to isolation. The whining goes on forever.

Kids also begin to think that home is an unfair place. They can’t understand how it’s fair for parents to expect them to help out around the house. They claim adults treat them like slaves. When a child misbehaves and is punished, he cries “foul” and complains to the powers of heaven that being grounded for sneaking out last night or losing his car because he received a speeding ticket is not at all fair. Demanding that a teen stay home to study for exams can lead to temper tantrums that declare the whole world is against the youth. One thing’s for sure: kids don’t think moms and dads have a fair bone in their bodies.

Unfairness continues in the work place. Some bosses actually set expectations of their employees. Those new to the workforce are shocked that they are to be at work on time every day. Tell them a dress code is in place and they become apoplectic. A few are dismayed that they aren’t starting work in a management position or that their salaries are equal to veteran workers. To the amazement of employers, parents sometimes call to demand that their “babies” be treated better.

Unfortunate things occur in all our lives. We wouldn’t wish them on anyone else. But if we lose a loved one, one of the first thing we say is “It’s not fair.” I’ve said it before. Then I thought to myself, would it have been fair for another’s loved one to have died in place of mine? I didn’t want to have my parents and my brother die; they were too dear to me, but their passing had less to do with fairness and more to do with a larger plan. That seems put life a bit more in perspective.

Here’s a news flash: life isn’t fair. Bad things some time happen. Some folks don’t treat others well or play by the rules. Parents do the best they can to rear children who are good, loving, and caring individuals. In the course of parenting, they sometimes make mistakes, but they are rarely unfair. Work isn’t a place for fairness; it’s every man for himself. It’s Darwin in that the fittest survive. No, fun isn’t a constant ingredient; that’s why it’s called “work.” All would do well to get a bit tougher and begin providing their own fairness. The next time you hear the line, “It’s not fair,” I dare you to ask the speaker why it’s not. The answer might be shocking.

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