To Share or Not To Share? That Is The Question

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Two young girls sharing their toys.What are we teaching our children if they think they can get everything they want just because they want it? Forcing our children to share has become a very controversial issue.

We are being warned by a previous generation (or two) that we raise spoiled children? If a kid has a toy, he is not obligated to share and shouldn’t be forced to. Obligatory sharing is silly.

The real-world applications of getting it all without working for it is not turning out so well for some millennials who have never heard the word ‘no.’

We should teach our kids about disappointment, which I completely agree with. The idea that my daughter will likely play a sport someday in which everyone on the team will get a trophy for being there is a thorn in my side. Losing isn’t fun, but it’s a part of life. An essential part of life. Life is not always rosy with sunshine and unicorns. Sometimes it’s steel-gray with mucky fog and enormous piles of horse poop.

Sharing teaches kids a lot about the way the world works.

What if your child’s friend was being bullied by a group of kids on the bus and their backpack was stolen, complete with all of her notes and study materials – the same materials your child is taking home to study, too? Is there a parent out there who would advocate for their child to leave their friend in the dust and not share the notes? What does that teach your child about friendship and reliability? If we put that into an adult real-world scenario, who wants to work with a co-worker that hordes their research and ideas?

How does society grow without the capacity to share different views, techniques, and theories?

How will our future leaders be able to lead nations if no one knows how to compromise? Wars were built on such selfish and one-view thinking. Your non-sharing child won’t get far in his adult life if he doesn’t know how to work with others.

Sharing leads to compassion. Granted, there seems to be less and less of that these days, but if we live in an everyone-for-themselves kind of world, we’re all doomed. What if you see an old lady slowly crossing the street up ahead on your way to the store? Are we teaching our kids to forget her? After all, you’re in a hurry – you don’t need to share the road with her. Maybe you should stop and honk at her until she makes it across. How about when your neighbor needs your ladder to fix the hole in his roof before the next storm? Would you tell your child to let him figure it out independently, and he better not ask to borrow some buckets when it rains?

Sharing is important. I learned to share, and you know what? I’ve never cut in front of someone in line because I wanted to. I’ve never taken anything from someone simply because I wanted to use it.

Okay, readers, it’s time for you to share – is encouraging our children to share good or bad?

4 COMMENTS

  1. Your last paragraph sums up where I stand on that point of view…I too was taught to share, and I turned out okay! πŸ™‚ Very thought provoking post, thank you Allison.

  2. I had similar thoughts when I read the post you’re referencing. Yes, there is a definite downside to mandatory sharing and I plan on making sure not to go overboard with sharing expectations with my kids. But there are important life lessons to be learned by sharing. And adults are often expected to share just like children! I can picture a party where someone takes a big bag of chips and won’t let anyone else have any- how rude would that be?! So I am definitely in agreement with your stance and am glad someone put all that out there- thanks Allison!

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