I recently read an article on Scary Mommy. It was about telling our kids they don’t have to share. It’s had thousands of positive responses. It was a fantastic article, but I have to admit – I don’t agree.
I still hold the (newly) unpopular mindset. I will always ask my children to share. In our family, we call it taking turns. “When I’m done, you can have a turn.” Sometimes, we’ll even set a timer so we don’t forget our promise. While I have explained to them time and time again that not everyone chooses to share this way, we do. There are few exceptions. Here is why:
I believe it takes a village to raise a child. I believe teamwork builds success. I believe the kindness of strangers has the power to change our selfish world. I believe asking our children to be thoughtful is how we facilitate the change.
In the comments of the article, I saw a reference to someone walking through the park with a sandwich, unwilling to share if asked. Heck, if someone wanted that sandwich bad enough to ask for it, I’d give it to them. Clearly, they need the sandwich more than I do.
But how, exactly, does that relate to a toy on the playground?
Learning to share at an early age teaches children the value of people and that relationships are more important than toys.
In addition, not everyone is blessed with the same status.
Maybe that toy is the one toy he has been wanting, but they just can’t justify the cost. Maybe she wants to try it out before putting it on her birthday list. Maybe he struggles socially and asking your child to share is his way of saying hello.
In any case it certainly doesn’t hurt my children to learn how to build relationships with love, kindness, and friendship.
Generosity will serve them well in every stage of life.
So if you’re ever walking through the park, hungry enough to ask for my sandwich – please do. It’s my pleasure to share it with you.