Sharing is hard. It’s hard to learn and it’s hard to teach. But most parents would agree that it’s a valuable life lesson and we insist that our children learn. After all, it’s a little embarrassing to be the only parent in playgroup whose child doesn’t know how to share and I think it’s safe to say that few parents stand proudly in the corner as they watch their child violently steal and hoard all the toys in the room. So, why is this acceptable behavior for adults?
Sharing is hard. We try to teach it to our children at a young age, but at what point do we forget these valuable lessons, and at what age is this acceptable? As adults, we try to make more money, buy more toys, and then we ever-so-subtly parade our wealth around. And the more we have, the more we want, and the more we need. We take, we take, and we take. And we take from those that need it the most. We hoard clothes that are made from underpaid over-worked children across the ocean. We stock up on $1 chocolates that child slaves produce. We update our cell phones yearly, ambivalent to the social and environmental violence that stems from the mining of these materials. These things don’t seem to matter if we want something badly enough. If we want something badly enough, we take it and we don’t really seem to care who we hurt along the way.
This week I was trying to teach Boo about the importance of sharing. She had two dolls. Her friend didn’t have any. I asked Boo if she could share one of her dolls. She didn’t want to, but after some tears she reluctantly obliged and in the end, she and her friend were able to play together and have a lot of fun. It seemed so simple and easy. Then I looked around my house. I have a lot of things. I have two of a lot of things. And I know there are a lot of people who don’t have anywhere near as much as I do.
Sharing is hard. But nothing worth doing was ever easy.