A more convoluted word you cannot find in our English language than fair. This word has been used as a crutch, an excuse, a verbal patsy. We don’t reach higher to elevate ourselves or seek to be more than F**R.

In my mind, it is my “F” word. A word whose status is found with other slang and abusive words of scorn. A word that maybe at one time had real meaning, real honor, but now burns my ears like the foulest derogatory epitome of fear and misdirection.

You will find this “F” word on the lips of those living in mediocrity, looking for an excuse for why they don’t reach higher. Why they got a bad rap or a bad deal. Why someone didn’t treat them well or why they lost a race. They make statements like, “They won because the rules were not fair” or “I didn’t do well because the rules were unfairly stacked against me.” Excuses for life like, “Today you don’t get a fair deal if you’re not a ______________ (fill in your blank).” Justifications often are stated as, “I was not treated fairly, so I now have the moral right to ____________.” So you act badly with perceived moral high ground because fair play is the new moral standard.

After all, an OK day is a fair day, an OK deal is a fair deal, and an OK day’s pay is a fair amount. Yet we complain in a very nonspecific way that things are not fair, life is not fair, they were not fair, God is not fair. All of this in a lazy, noncommittal throw-out-the-“F”-bomb kind of way because we are not willing or able to address the true reasons why we don’t self-elevate.

Really, the use of any slang or derogatory word is based on a lack of vocabulary. People often get lazy or uninspired, lose faith, walk away from God, or begin the slippery slope of blaming others for their current state. It becomes easier to throw the “F” word in than to have lively debate, have our ideas challenged, or hold ourselves to a higher standard. When we don’t quite know what to say, we just revert to the empty and inappropriate “F” word.

Wouldn’t it be great if we could build a legacy in our lives of not using the “F” word? Encourage our friends not to drop “F” bombs anymore? Help our children and grandchildren see how profane it is and encourage them to build a better vocabulary? Maybe even make it a game to pick better and more appropriate words instead of using that old and tired “F” word. Maybe it is time for some good old word-replacement therapy. Here are five steps to lose the “F” word:

Listen carefully for when you are about to use the “F” word, fair.

Stop yourself when you are about to drop an “F” bomb, and pause to reflect on a better word.

Come up with a list of synonyms that really mean what you are feeling or thinking.

Take the time to look for ways to work these new, more meaningful words into your daily speech.

Help your friends and family see the emptiness of the word fair, and encourage them to practice word-replacement therapy, too.

You will begin to have higher thoughts with more meaning when you remove the “F” word daily:

Instead of trying to treat others fairly, I will endeavor to honor those around me with respect and kindness.

Instead of trying to give this task a fair shake, I will give this task my level best.

Instead of making a fair deal, I will now make equitable deals.

Instead of exhibiting fair play, I will play justly and according to the rules.

When I am not treated fairly, I will own my mess and understand that everyone is not unbiased.

Instead of saying the world is not fair, I will recognize what I can do to help the world become just, equitable, honest, upright, honorable, trustworthy, impartial, unbiased, objective, legitimate, reasonable, respectable, and acceptable—not fair.

“I looked up fairness in the dictionary, and it was not there.”
—William Giraldi



Fair is written by AC Lockyer