Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sharing Sucks

"It's enough to make one wonder if some investment bankers never made it out of preschool."
- Nancy Shute, NPR

   The Wife and I have been working hard over the years to teach our children the concept of sharing. We've recently started to say out loud, "What's the point?!" Why would one ever say that? Let me explain. We've had numerous occasions where our little ones have come to us questioning why they have to follow certain rules when the children they're playing with DON'T have to. I've used my mother's "because I said so", and it seems as hollow as when I heard it as a kid. There are rules around snacking before dinner, bedtimes, playing in the street, being out of sight, and today's topic, which is sharing.

   There was an article that The Wife read where a professional stated, "The concept of sharing is odd, because as an adult, you don't go over to your friends house and say 'Oh, I just love that pearl necklace! MY turn!!!'" This is true. I have a friend that has a very nice boat that he takes out regularly. Can you imagine me calling "MY turn!!!", and telling on him to his mother until he let's me take 'er out for a spin? So when I observe school or neighborhood kids and their sheer lack of rules and etiquette, I wonder what I'm doing it for. Will my children be a part of a dying breed? Young adults who give others a chance to speak first, worry about littering, keep their stereos at a reasonable volume, and so on? That thought is what got me pondering it more deeply and not allowing my children to go Mad Max on everyone else.

   In a nutshell, the concept of sharing prepares us for our social responsibility in the world. True, I won't have the wind in my hair during a boat outing with my friends prized baby any time soon. The lesson is that from the moment a child understands that others would like a turn, they're on their way to becoming a positive part of society. In a study about children and sharing it was said by Daniel R. Hawes in Quilted Science in Physchology Today"Children were guided in their decision of how much to share by how much they valued the resource. " So it becomes our responsibility to teach our little ones the value of things. Material possessions for sure, but what about the rest of it all? The feelings of others, their own bodies, the life of another, the world around them, and so on. Sharing is a building block, and even though I sometimes it hurts to see my children not understand how others don't get it, we still want to instill that lesson. So we press forward, diligently, along side a host of parents trying to accomplish the same thing. My hope is that we never give up. 

   I welcome any thoughts on the topic, but first, can I have the keys to your car? MY turn!


No comments:

Post a Comment