To share or not to share, that is the question.
I have a dear friend who has vowed to never force her child to share against his will. If something is his then it is his and he doesn’t have to share it if he doesn’t want to, just like no one can require you to loan out your car or your favorite dress or any of the other things we hesitate to part with as adults.
I get it and I can’t say that I disagree with her logic. I can’t even imagine trying to tell my boy he has to share his Bunny!
This past week Heather Hippyhomesteader shared this link on Facebook (one of my favorite pages, by the way. You should follow her! She’s is always thought-provoking and offers lots of helpful info.): “Why I Don’t Make My Son Share.” The writer shares many of the same feelings as my friend adding, “I think it does a child a great disservice to teach him that he can have something that someone else has, simply because he wants it.”
Again, I don’t disagree.
On the other hand…
I started thinking about the examples she shared in the story and I thought, where do we draw the line between teaching our children that it’s OK to have things that are dear to us and it’s good and right to consider the needs, feelings and desires of others.
The writer told a story that her child was playing with a toy that another child wanted and she refused to make him get off, even when another child asked repeatedly to use it. He played with the toy for the entire duration of the event they were attending.
I’m not sure I would make my kid give up the toy either. There are other toys, even some very nearly identical (according to the author). On the other hand, if I were at the gym and I was waiting my turn for the treadmill and the jerk in front of me refuses to get off.. like… ever… well… that’s just rude and irritating. Yes, I can use the elliptical, but it’s really not the same. Yes, he paid his dues and has a right to the equipment as well as I do but… well… where do you draw the line?
Of course, that’s all hypothetical as I seriously don’t do the gym (LAZY Hippie Mama, remember?) but what about this:
A friend recently asked to borrow my car for a very legitimate reason. It’s my car. I paid for it. I insure it. I maintain it. I don’t HAVE to share it, but why in the world wouldn’t I? She’s a responsible woman. She’s a careful driver. She has a need that I can help fill. It’s the kind thing to do and there have been times when others have done just that same thing for me.
Maybe if we all worried a little less about “it’s MINE!” and thought a little more about, “how does NOT having this make that person feel?” the world would be a kinder place.
But, going back to the original piece, it really doesn’t seem right that anyone should feel entitled to what I have worked to earn.
How do you teach all this to a toddler when we, as adults, don’t even seem to have it figured out yet? A tiny portion of the population has a huge portion of the “toys.” They will tell you all day long how they worked to earn those toys and they shouldn’t have to share. And maybe they are right. Then again, maybe not.
Am I the only parent that seriously overthinks these issues?
I would love to hear your thoughts! What do you think?
Where do you draw the line between teaching your child about ownership and teaching them about compassion for others?
Or, to put it more bluntly…
Where do you draw the line between not forcing your kid to share and allowing them to grow up to be a selfish jerk?
Are you, too, seeking to save the earth, promote world peace and raise productive citizens without expending too much effort?
If we work on our goals together, they may be a little easier to achieve!