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Leveling the Playing Field

A few months ago, as a way to get my kids to make their beds in the morning before they had to get off to school, I told them I wanted to see who could do it the fastest. My oldest, Hannah, loving competition, was ready to shoot out the gate that second. I told her their was one catch.  Her little sister, Josie, would get a ten second head start. And of course, Hannah was annoyed, but agreed. So off they went, with Hannah somewhat patiently counting to the number ten. As soon as it was reached, I realized that the small advange had only given her sister enough time to climb up to her top bunk. But off Hannah went and in a flash, was almost done making her bed, with Josie still struggling to get her blankets straight. 

So I did something. 

I helped her a bit.

Bad idea.

Hannah saw it, came to a screeching halt and started whining foul. She didn't think it was fair that I was helping Josie and not her. I tried to explain my reasoning, but she wouldn't hear of it and after finishing her bed, left the room in a huff. I watched Josie, who was oblivious to her older sister's annoyance, continue to make her bed. And even though it took her a bit longer, she finished the job.

I found Hannah and asked if I could talk with her. She reluctantly came to me.  Our conversation began.

Hannah do you know why I helped Josie and not you?

No. But it wasn't fair Mom.

I did it because I wanted to level the playing field.

What does that mean?

It means I wanted to make it as even as possible. So that Josie had just as much of a chance to win as you did.

But she did!

No Hannah she didn't. Do you realize that it's easier to make a bed on the bottom bunk than it is on the top bunk? You have the floor to stand on next to your bed to help you. She doesn't. Plus, you have longer arms than she does. And you're eight and she is only four.


So I saw that she was way behind and I knew you were going to win, regardless of what I did. So I just helped her a little bit.

To level the playing field?

That's right.

Hannah, understanding my point, started to cry. I hugged her and said, "Hannah it's okay. You're okay. I just wanted you to know."

"I'm sorry Mom." I reassured her that she was okay. That all was right.

Soon, we were all in the car to get everyone to their planned destinations. And as we drove and listened to the Christmas music streaming from the radio, I thought of the Savior. I thought of His sacrifice. And how he "leveled the playing field" for all of us. How when we stumble and fall and lose our way in this great race of life, He is there for us to help us along so that we can keep up and win the fight. Some may say that competition is just something we all have to learn and deal with in this life. That there are always going to be some who win and many who lose........but oh how grateful I am for a loving older brother who made it possible for all of us to be winners.


Katy is a wife, mother and enjoyer of all things chocolate.  She loves music, laughter, and the simple things in life.  Her roller coaster of thoughts can be found at  Admission is always free.

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