It is a well documented fact, in my household, that I have sharing issues. I don’t like to share.
Let me clarify that. I don’t like being forced to share.
I don’t like it when one of my boys or the Hubby says, “Share your (fill in the blank) with me.” First of all you’re “telling” me to share. You are not giving me a chance to offer to share with you. By telling me to do something, you are highly likely to not get what you are after. And if it is a food or drink item that you’re expecting me to share, you are probably even more out of luck.
I have this whole theory on sharing that I’ve developed over the years. I’ll admit it started in childhood, but it really took shape after I became a mother. You see, when my firstborn came along, I took him to the requisite “playgroups”, because we all know that part of being a good, first-time mom was making sure our children were well socialized at an early age. I’m over that now, just so you know. I prefer to be a hermit with my children, watch movies together and shut out the rest of the world.
However, at these playgroups the big thing was making sure all the children “shared” their toys, snacks, etc. with each other. At first I went along with this. How was I to know better? I was a new mom and all the other new moms were insisting that their 2 year olds “share”, and they didn’t seem to mind the screaming that took place when they pried the Thomas the Tank toy out of their toddler’s death grip in order to “share” it with little Bobby. But I did notice the way little Bobby would smuggly smile as he held the toy in front of the other children as if to say, “Ha, it’s mine now.” And I also noticed the smug looks on the faces of the mothers as they proudly displayed their children’s “sharing” behavior.
Those smug looks turned to looks of surprise and horror on the day that I said my son didn’t have to share a new toy if he didn’t want to when one of the other moms suggested he share it with her son. What? I wasn’t forcing my child to share? Uh, no. I explained that the toy was new and that he was not quite ready to hand it over to another kid and I wasn’t going to force him to. Especially just for sake of being able to say he had “shared.”
Because that’s not sharing, people. Now don’t get me wrong. I totally believe that we must teach our children to share. In fact, I am all for sharing; both in concept and practice. I just don’t think it should be done by forcibly taking something from someone and handing it over to another person. Again, that’s not sharing.
Sharing comes from the heart and is done willingly and with a giving heart. Sharing is something you do because you know it will make someone else happy, or that it will help them out in some way. Sharing is done out of love, and self-sacrifice; not because you have to.
As I looked around the room at the horrified faces of the mothers, I could tell they couldn’t believe what they had just heard. I realized that my stand on sharing was not going to be popular and that we probably wouldn’t be invited back. In an effort to make my point even clearer, I mentioned to this same mom that I had noticed she had a new mini-van parked on the street. I asked her if she would be willing to “share” it with me. She looked shocked that I would even suggest such a thing and mubbled something about not being sure that was a good idea. Well, that’s exactly how my son felt when he was told he had to share his new toy. He didn’t think that was a such a good idea either.
Through the years I have taught and encouraged my sons to be givers and to share. They are all very generous with their time and their belongings. I am very proud of their giving spirits and the fact that they do it, not because they are required to, but because they want to.
And isn’t that what sharing is really all about?