Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Sharing is caring?

"He won't share!" - Have you ever heard kids get into a fight over a certain toy, and the one who didn't get it comes tattling about what he perceives as a major injustice? 

The politically correct response to this situation is that the parent of the child who has the coveted item coaxes the child into giving it to the tattler, possibly by using such strategies as distraction ("Oh look at this cool toy, why don't you play with that instead?"), finding another identical item, or guilt ("Don't you feel bad how sad he is about not being able to play with that toy?").

What are we teaching our kids? To surrender their belongings to anyone, anytime they are demanded to do so? Imagine if someone knocked on your door, and demanded the keys to your car so they could go run an errand? Share! If they wanted to have your wallet and use your debit card? Share! If the government took large amounts of your income to "redistribute" it to the "less fortunate", regardless of whether their need is legitimate or simply self-inflicted due to laziness and ungodly lifestyle choices? Oh yeah, they already do that. But that doesn't make it right.

Is it wrong to let someone use your car who needs it? Is it wrong to financially assist or otherwise support others who may be going through a hard time? Absolutely not! In fact, it is something that we as Christians should do. But ultimately, the choice of whether and whom to "share" with, or help out, is ours. 

Imagine if kids got up on their birthday morning and demanded: "Give me my gifts! I want my gifts!" Such behavior would be inexcusable, and the last thing they should get is a gift. But does that mean that giving them gifts is always wrong? No. A gift is something that is voluntarily given out of goodwill, from the heart, not because it is required or demanded. That defeats the purpose of a gift. 

The same principle applies to charitable acts of kindness, which I'm guessing is the value that parents are trying to instill when they teach their children to "share". What they are really teaching them is Communism. They are teaching them to smile and do nothing about an increasingly abusive government, who thinks that it is every lazy jerk's right to have someone support their wicked lifestyle, so they will bleed the rest of us to pay for them. 

Kids who are taught that anytime they demand to be "shared with", they get their way, also learn to be covetous. People can have nice things that we do not have, and it does not mean that we have some sort of right to have the same. In fact, not only should we not demand to have the same, we should not even desire to have it in our heart. The Bible says: "covetousness, which is idolatry".

I do not teach our kids to share, as in - hand over whatever you have anytime anyone demands you to. I do teach them not be selfish, and to think of how they would like to be treated themselves. The choice is ultimately theirs. If they do not understand and practice the Bible principle of "it is more blessed to given than to receive", they are the ones losing out by not getting that blessing. They may not want to share with some kids because the child plays with their toys in a destructive manner, just like I wouldn't trust just anyone with the keys to my car. 

But just like the child who gets up on his birthday morning expecting and demanding a gift, the last child that should be "shared" with is the sniveling brat who demands "Share! You need to SHARE!" Giving in to him may pacify (and shut up!) the child, but it will only exacerbate his problem of thinking that the world owes him anything. Sometimes, NOT sharing may be the most caring thing to do. 


  1. YES, YES, YES!!! I totally agree. People look at me strange when they demand my child share his toy with their child. I look at them and say "it's his, he owns it, he can choose who plays with it".

    "But, don't you want to teach them to share?" They ask. "No, I want to teach them kindness, which is handing over a toy to someone else because you want to be kind, not because someone told you to. I want to teach them to take care of their belongings, and that includes not handing things over to people they don't trust to take care of them. And I want my kids to learn that nobody owes them anything. Other children do not HAVE to let them play with their toys."

    People don't get it, and think I'm a bad mom. I had to "share" my stuff when I was little, even when I *knew* my sister just wanted it so she could break it. She would do it on purpose. But I'd get a spanking if I didn't share, and she never got one for breaking my stuff because she always claimed it was an accident. I'd get one, again, for being so upset about my broken stuff too. This was a constant problem.

  2. Although part of our thing is that if your brother owns it, and he let you play with it, but now wants it back, it's his...give it to him.

  3. I agree. I will never forget the look on one 4 year old boys face at church when he came running to tell me my son would not share his scooter. I said "we have been out of church for a whole 5 minutes so he just started playing with his scooter himself. If he feels like letting you have a turn he will but I will not make him give you what is his." Poor boy had a look of total confusion and then looked to his mom. Luckily she backed me up and he was sent back out to play with the other kids WITHOUT a garauntee of a ride on my son's scooter. It was JUST what that 4 year old, youngest child so a little spoiled anyway, child needed!

  4. My two-year-old granddaughter wanted a toy that my 18-month-old granddaughter had. I simply said, "Thou shalt not covet" (Exodus 20 KJV). Hannah seemed to understand.

  5. Aboslutely. My friend and I are raising our two sons C & Z(who turned 2 in April and June) very closely and in some ways they are more like brothers than friends. We we encourage patience, taking turns and generousity, these are the same traits we would expect them to their future siblings, the child we might meet at the playground, as well as their future class team or work mates.

    Despite the generous and caring expectations we have of our boys, we both understand (and are teaching) our boys' right to say no. Some toys are just too special to share, while others (a single matchbox car) are too impractical. In those cases, we put away the special toy (because while they should not have to share, it's not fair to play with it in front of everyone), or get some extra cars out.

    We do have a couple of absolute sharing rules though - any toy that becomes the object of a loud dispute, whether it be a "sharing" toy they can play with together, a "taking turns" toy, that they play with one at a time, or a "special" toy that they do not have to share at all, is immediately packed away, and does not come back out until after the playdate. The other rule we have is toys with many parts, like crayons or blocks, should always be shared. The boys do not have to draw on the same paper, or build the same tower, but there are more than enough peices to go around, no child could need all 24 colours or 150 block peices at once.

    This is working well so far, when Z asks C for a toy that C is already playing with, C will say no and Z goes and finds something else, 10 or so minutes later, C will bring the toy in question to Z, having finished his turn. The boy in possession of the toy has used his right to continue playing with it, but was generous & sharing later on, and the one wanting the toy has had to be patient, and understand he doesn't always get what he wants - a win all round I feel.

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  7. I so agree with you here. Everything you said i would say myself.
    Great post


  8. I absolutely agree with you! This is something I've talked to my husband about a few times, while we've discussed how we are going to raise our children. We both agree that our kids shouldn't be forced to "share" with everyone. I think most parents teach this believing that they're teaching their kids not to be selfish, and don't realize what they are really teaching.

  9. Sorry for the tangent, but I've got to ask.

    Miranda: how did you have two sons who turned 2 in April and June? Was one a premature twin or something?


  10. Sally,

    Miranda has a son and her friend has a son and they are friends. Reread what Miranda wrote and you'll see this. Miranda said, "in some ways they [the boys] are more like brothers than friends".

  11. Bakershalfdozen is correct, there is my son, and my friend's son. They are both (at present) firstborn, only children.

    However, their relationship is similar to that of brothers due to the amount of time spent together, and some of the emotions and behaviours they show toward each other (both positive and negative) are more brotherly than just friendly.

  12. Just wanted to say, in a communist society, there is no government.
    Please consider doing some research next time before posting.

  13. All sharing disputes are not the same. While you describe a demanding brat who covets a toy another child rightfully has, the usual scenario involves a child who is hogging a toy that ISN'T his personal property or isn't taking turns as instructed by an adult. You may not be familiar with these situations because you home school, and don't have experience supervising a larger group of children, where the toys are not owned by the children, but by the school or daycare.

    It's not "politically correct" to teach children they are no more or less deserving than their neighbors; it's Christ's command. The value being taught isn't "charity," as you guessed, but EMPATHY. A child needs to develop empathy to be able to love his neighbor as himself.

    You took an essential lesson of childhood, a key to healthy socialization, and turned it into a rightwing political polemic. You can raise your children according to Christ's teachings, or the atheist Ayn Rand's; it's your choice. I choose Jesus.

  14. That can go both ways, two extremes, on the one hand, no a child shouldn't demand the other child's toy and get his way, but on the other hand the other child should learn to share. So it's not cut and dry, one way our the other. I can say with my oldest child him and his cousin, 6 months apart, it was a constant battle when they were together, making them share, not taking toys from each other etc and my son is pretty possessive over his toys now. With my youngest son playing with his cousin, 5 months apart in age We just leave them a lone, they take away each others toys and dont care they just get another one, they give each other toys, no problem, so i think really the best way is to just leave it alone and dont make one give the toy up or one share, they will figure it out themselves.


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