Look! Here are some jelly beans! A pile for you and a pile for your best friend. The one on the left is yours!
If you’re under the age of ten, you probably did not just say “all right.” If you are under the age of ten, you probably said something like, “Wait, why does my BFF get more jelly beans? That’s not fair!”
Children have an incredible ability to spot injustice. They keep careful track to make sure that everyone gets the same treatment or exactly the same amount. When I get snacks ready for the after school club kids (all in elementary school), I know one thing: I better make plates or bowls or cups that have EXACTLY THE SAME AMOUNT or I’ll be hearing “Why did she get more animal crackers? That’s not fair!” all afternoon.
One thing that I’ve noticed, though, is that our sensitivity to injustice and unfairness seems to fade as we grow older. I don’t have to count out or measure the youth group lunch components with the same diligence. I know that as long as it’s close enough, no one will care.
By the time we reach adulthood, we tend to just operate with the understanding that life isn’t fair and you take what you get. It seems that we may even develop a bit of apathy toward injustice.
You got more jelly beans than I did? Well, you win some you lose some.
Some people are paid less money for doing the exact same work? That’s the way it goes sometimes.
The coffee grower doesn’t make a fair wage? That’s too bad, but really, there’s not much I can do about it.
He worked hard to earn his Eagle award but Boy Scouts of America won’t give it to him because he’s gay? Well, they’re a private non-profit, so I guess it’s up to them.
Approximately 5,000 children die each day because they don’t have clean water? That reminds me to be thankful for what I have, I guess.
There are more people in slavery in the world today than at any point in history (27 million-ish)? Wow, that’s awful to hear, but what could I do to fix such a big problem?
Injustice exists in many forms, big and small in our world. Yes, it’s awful. Yes, it’s overwhelming to hear about all the different ways people are treated unfairly and without dignity.
But you can do something. There are places in your life that you can make small changes that impact people who are treated unjustly. You can’t do everything, but you can do something.
Check out Everyday Justice for some ideas about how to get started.
See the original post about this photo project–it’s not too late to take some pictures!