“Love only grows by sharing. You can only have more for yourself by giving it away to others.’
I recently saw some friends on Facebook post this article “Why I don’t make my son share” where the basic premise is teaching kids that life isn’t fair and you shouldn’t be expected to be handed something just because you want it – both true things. Many comments below went into further details about mothers who set-up all kinds of rules and situations about their kids’ sharing and what exactly they are required to share and when exactly they are required to share it. There’s apparently all these rules about time limits for using a toy, who was using it first, who asked for it next and so on and so forth. I guess I’m out of the loop on all of these sharing rules.
I’m definitely not judging anyone’s stance on sharing (I didn’t even really realize there was a stance on sharing?) – trust me, I wholeheartedly understand this parenting struggle. I understand teaching kids these important hard lessons of life. The last thing I want is my kids to just expect things to be given to them and develop some sort of sense of entitlement. Life isn’t fair and you don’t always get what you want when you want it.
The Underlying Importance of Sharing
But, I did come from a family of 5 daughters growing up and sharing was something we just did. It wasn’t a specific lesson my parents taught but something that just was. Clothes, cars, bedrooms, toys, chores, hand-me-downs, our parents, hotel rooms, etc. – it was a part of daily life in our house.
Here’s the thing…there is an underlying importance to the concept of sharing – selflessness. It goes beyond a specific toy or game or time limits but teaching my kids the WHY of sharing. I haven’t mastered this yet with my own kids (the Lord only knows!) but I want them to think of others before themselves. Children are inherently selfish beings and I want them to get out of their self-centered little bubbles and think about another person’s feelings first.
As a mother, we shouldn’t just demand our kids share what is theirs with others, but really show them how to serve others, how to be giving, talk about others’ feelings and what it means to be unselfish. The world would be a better place if we mold hearts of unwavering generosity in our children. Push them into love and selflessness, to be more like Jesus in their hearts and not even worry about the me, my and mine of the sharing matter.
And as a sub-note, another lesson I hope to one day ingrain into my kids’ little brains is that possessions do not matter. I would love nothing more than to have my kids truly not care if another kid is touching their toy. I want to be a living example for them, to show that it’s just a material thing that doesn’t hold any value and the way you treat others and give to others it more important than any single item.
Lord, give me the wisdom to teach these things to my kids!
So yes, I will make my children share.