Monday, March 24, 2008

A Lesson On Fairness

For the past couple of weeks I've been taking a business writing class.  Since the class began, I've been really frustrated.  Instructors in the past have spoiled me by returning assignments within a day or two with very complete feedback.  This instructor has a different, more ethereal style.  This afternoon I received an assignment back and promptly complained about my grade.  Worse yet, I actually opened Excel and figured out what the grades for the class must be based on my grade, the number of students, and the class average.  Guess what?  I probably didn't get the grade I should have.

Guess what else?  My perspective is seriously skewed in the wrong direction.  As I laid in bed a few moments ago, fuming, something popped into my head.  This morning I visited the Easter service at a facility for young people who have made some bad choices, and had run-ins with the law.  The pastor looked over the assembly of rough and tumble youngsters and declared "Guess what?  Life isn't fair."  He's right, of course.  Sir Isaac Newton never discovered the "Universal Law of Fairness" because there isn't one.

The chance that I will fail this course is slim.  If I manage only 50% on the remaining assignments, I should pass.  My current cumulative GPA is 3.95, so one stinker grade won't kill me.  I've got a great career, a family, a home, health, and happiness (most of the time).

Meanwhile, I sat amongst 100 or so rightfully angry young men this morning.  Men who do not know fairness.  They do not have prospects for rewarding careers.  Many do not have families, homes, or happiness.  Most of them will not attend college at all, let alone twice.  Their lot has been unfair, and their prospects don't look good either.

So, about that fairness.  Perhaps I'm long overdue for a dose of the unfair.  Perhaps I should remind myself that twenty minutes from here there are a couple hundred young men who would gladly trade their version of unfair for mine.

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