Tuesday, June 9, 2015

To Share or Not to Share

This is another post with Jessica!

Jessica came across this article, which is interesting, and we decided to post about it together.  As always, I am probably going to be far more verbose than Jessica, lol.

I want to paraphrase the article, but it's short enough to just read so I'm not going to.

First, I have to say...in the article, I think that they're kind of splitting things up (or maybe lumping them together?) to try to say something.  I don't blame people for doing this...it's a common thing and hard to avoid.  People want to categorize things.  A term gets applied to a variety of situations that are tangentially related, but multiple sides of an issue are not explored.

I don't think that teaching, or not teaching, sharing is a "gray moral area" like the author seems to believe.  Just because one "policy" does not apply across the board does not make that subject "morally gray".  Welcome to parenthood!  It means that an individual needs to use discernment as to what is correct in a certain situation.  And on top of that, what applies to one age group does not apply to another.

I definitely believe that a lot of people nowadays want us to think that sharing is very morally gray.  On the one hand, there is a sense of entitlement in society, while on the other hand, it's okay to tell people that *they* ought to be more charitable.  People who have no real morals love to have double standards.  But that's another topic.

It concerns me that an "interesting perspective" these days consists of someone having the stance that others are not *guaranteed by right* to take possession of something that someone else has.

This interesting perspective seems quite straightforward to me...

But I don't think that perspective is necessarily saying "I don't teach my child to share" if by "sharing", you mean, "I don't teach my child to be thoughtful and caring and charitable and not possessive and greedy and bratty".

But hey, he got a good-sounding title for his article, right?

There are two things going on in the situations that the article mentions, and these two things need to be covered on both sides.

On the one hand, there is the inappropriate behavior and attitude of thinking you are due something that someone else has, simply because you desire it.

On the other hand, there is the inappropriate behavior and attitude of not considering others...specifically, being selfish and greedy and believing that material possessions are more important than relating with people.

You can't teach both things at the same time.  And there are different levels and nuances and situations in which these things apply.

As a parent, you ought to be in tune enough to your child to know which lesson need apply in a certain situation, and in how they are growing in understanding.

I would never allow my toddler to take something away from someone else.  I would never allow my child of any age to take something away from someone else.  I would never allow (without consequences) my child to throw a fit or get upset about something they could not have.

On the other hand, if my non-toddler is hanging on to something simply because they want to be a brat and don't want someone else to have it, then I will likely step in and insist they share, giving appropriate time to the different parties.  But, this is dependent on knowing my child and knowing when they are acting like a selfish brat.

And, as a parent with multiple children, there are times when I do need to put a time limit on something so that one child does not monopolize a favorite item or activity to the exclusion of the others.  (Cases like that, where a child's normally limited attention span is taken over by some possessive activity, this usually means said activity cannot be all that healthy in the first place, anyway, and even without competition, time should be limited.)

It's really more about learning selfishness vs. selflessness and understanding the role of possessions in our lives than some glorified idea of "sharing".

I couldn't care less about "sharing" in the sense of how society believes in it these days.  Today, "sharing" is about "everyone having a turn" or "everyone being able to enjoy this or that" or "everyone having the same imaginary rights" or "the world belongs to everyone and so we need to do x, y, and z, because I think that makes the world better for everyone" or some such nonsense.

People, even children, are not the same and frankly we don't *need* everything to be equal along all lines. "Sharing" and "fairness" and "equality" become annoying buzz words.

I'm sorry.  Life is not fair.  The world has limited resources and some have more than others, and for the most part...if you're complaining because you don't think that things are "fair", then you can just shut the hell up because I don't care what you think is fair.  It's simply not possible to be "fair" with everyone.  One person's idea of fairness is anything but to another.  Fairness doesn't enter into the real world at large and morality is *not* about being fair.  If fairness enters into a child's relationship with his peers, then this is simply because there are scenarios when raising children in which we *need* to establish order and we need to teach certain lessons.  More specifically, in a group setting, fairness is a necessary component of a closed group of specific individuals, because otherwise the group cannot work or even abide together.  But fairness is a fluid construct whose rules need to be defined within that group.  There are times when consideration *must* be given to others, and this is especially evident with multiple children in one family.

All that being said, charity is one of the most valuable things we can attempt to instill in our children.  Insisting on "fairness" or "sharing" is not going to give our children charitable hearts, but it is a necessary step to teach that when you deal with others, you consider their feelings and wants and desires.  Children have very basic understandings of the deeper mechanics of our hearts, and they need concrete, real-world examples to deal with.

When there is a genuine need, or lack, it most assuredly ought to be met by another in position to do so.  Not because of some obligation instilled upon us by our authority figures, not because our culture tells us it is the right thing to do, but because it is in our hearts to do so.

We do not have control over our children's hearts.  But we can do our best to guide them.


Face does not share his post.  But no one else wants it, anyway.

Shibe was very happy when we shared the remnants of our corn on the cob.

Oh, the timing.

I was just finishing this post up when I heard a commotion downstairs.  My four-year-old daughter had something that my two-year-old daughter wanted.  My two-year-old ripped it from her sister's hands.  Then, my four-year-old screamed bloody murder and ripped it back.

The toy is now in my possession.


Rolina said...

I much prefer your attitude to sharing, there are grey areas and, as you say, each situation is different. Having set "rules" is easier for the mom, but doesn't work in all cases.

Jessica P said...

That is sooooo true, life is, never was, and never will be "fair". Shut the hell up about it is right. I agree with everything you say completely! Sharing is a situation-specific area- and it is annoying when people try and apply a formula to fit everything. Ugh.

Face is sooooo cute with his not-shared scratchy post! <3