Sharing vs Taking

If you’re a regular follower of this blog, you have probably run across an entry or two that talks about my parenting methods and my views on parenting in general. You have also probably gotten the idea that I’m not exactly what many would define as a “traditional” mother, what with the swearing and tattoos and all. There’s an article I read several days ago that grabbed my attention because it describes another woman’s ideas on child-rearing. It’s sure to inspire lively debate because she puts forth the idea that maybe teaching your kid to share isn’t as good of an idea as it has been made out to be.

Check out the article here for the author’s own words:

I’m sure we all have our own takes on what she has written. It’s not a black and white issue and I certainly stand right smack in the grey area. I completely agree that your child shouldn’t feel like it’s his or her obligation to share toys that they own with someone they may or may not know if they don’t want to. That’s not how things work in the real world. If it was, a stranger could take a peek over your shoulder when you’re at the Starbucks “working,” and demand to use your laptop, right? It’s your computer, but they want it so you’d have to give it up. How much sense does that make?

But if the toy doesn’t belong to anyone in particular (it has been provided by their pre-school or Chuck E. Cheese for communal use for example), sharing should be required after a reasonable amount of time. The real world tends to agree with this logic, too. Take the gym for instance. If all the Stairmasters are in use, it’s considered poor form if someone rocks out on it for an hour. In fact, most gyms have a 20 minute maximum use time if machines are busy just so everyone can get a fair turn at something that everyone has the same amount of ownership in.

Personally, I think that the author has confused “taking” with “sharing.” Unfortunately, I also think that she’s far from the only parent that’s guilty of this inversion of definitions. A child shouldn’t just think they can point to something, have it given to them no questions asked, and call it “sharing.” I think this concept is what is driving the author’s intrepid new non-sharing platform. The outcome? To her—or at least this is what I get from what she has written—it’s possible that the old model where parents force their children to share is why society is in the state that it’s currently in now.

I would offer the suggestion that maybe parents like her who don’t believe in sharing is the reason our society has gone downhill. As adults, we no longer help the poor, the homeless, or even our neighbors. “To hell with them” is the attitude most people take these days. It’s my money/food/stuff, to hell with them we say as we hold onto our “stuff” with a death grip. Back in the day, the phrases “Gotta look out for number one” and “You do you, I’ll do me” didn’t exist. Neighbors were quick to share resources, food, time, help. Now… not so much.

Of course I’m not talking about every individual person, but as a whole we’ve become by and large a closed society that shuts strangers as well as friends out unless there are seriously extenuating circumstances.

Sharing vs. taking. Don’t get them confused. This blog is just sharing my thoughts. You don’t have to take them, but hopefully it is an idea you will at least consider.


5 thoughts on “Sharing vs Taking

  1. In the Uk the value of charitable donations is estimated at almost £10 billion p.a. and the value of the voluntary sector is estimated at £11.7 billion. Nearly 60% of adults give to charity in a typical year.

    • I think that charitable gifts are a wonderful thing. Many fine groups would not be able to function or continue their good work without the generosity of others, that’s very true. On the other end of the spectrum is the fact that here in the US a great many citizens and lawmakers are adamantly fighting the idea of making a “living wage” law so that people who work 40 hours or more a week could somehow live above the poverty line instead of solidly under it. Whether it’s because they want to keep those workers from getting a “leg up” in the world or because they’re afraid it will somehow cost them something, I don’t know. In addition US politicians routinely cut basic services to the poor (and veterans) because they feel the money is best left in their own pockets or for their own agendas. And they have an entire party of voters who follow their lead. It’s sad.

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