Is sharing really caring or an encroachment of a child's personal space and rights? Two mums share their views.
Auckland, New Zealand
We are a sharing family, or at least, a “working towards sharing” family. I never really thought of it as being a question to be honest; after all sharing is caring.
Personally, I feel Jesus would always share and in trickier, less black-and-white situations, would keep everything in prayer. A child coming up to my son to ask if they could play with his toys is I'd say more black-and-white (just like sharing food) and I would totally encourage him to share.
Of course, there are trickier situations, like sharing your tablet or sharing a phone, but isn't it surprising that these are really considered trickier because of their monetary value? It reminds me of a quote: “Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.” Yes, these “things” are considered of higher value because of their price tag, but the value of being taught to share, being taught to let go of material possessions and place higher value on relationships and people, that is something that in this material-driven world is invaluable.
Teaching our children to share has a deeper meaning: to be reliant on God to supply our needs and to think more of others. Ultimately it is teaching them to love as God loved. Sharing is of much more value than any material possession and if it is taught in love, without force, then I can see sharing only as good.
In all fairness, I am still learning to share, but I'm always reminded of this quote: “Don't raise your kids to have more than you had, raise them to be more than you were.” And in all honesty, I don't want my kids to be selfish like I was because if learning to share has taught me anything, it is that there is more happiness in giving than in receiving.
If I, an adult, walked into the park eating a sandwich, am I required to share my sandwich with strangers in the park? No!
Would any well-mannered adult, a stranger, reach out to help themselves to my sandwich and get huffy if I pulled it away? No again.
So really, while you're giving me dirty looks, presumably thinking my son and I are rude, whose manners are lacking here? The person reluctant to give his three toys away to six strangers, or the six strangers demanding to be given something that doesn't belong to them, even when the owner is obviously uncomfortable?
The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults. While I do know some adults who clearly never learned how to share as children, I know far more who don't know how to say no to people, or how to set boundaries, or how to practise self-care. Myself included.
The next time your snowflake runs to you, upset that another child isn't sharing, please remember that we don't live in a world where it's conducive to give up everything you have to anyone just because they said so, and I'm not going to teach my kid that that's the way it works.