Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Sharing Is Not Synonymous with "I Want, Therefore I Take"

I am curious as to when the term "share" became synonymous with the word "take." Each week this past year I sat in the lobby with my son while my daughter took an hour long gym class. Each week I heard parents tell their children or implore others "to share." Some used this term correctly, but most did not even come close.

Today I reached my breaking point with a certain mother who loudly tells other kids that they have to "share" each time her spoiled brat of a kid whines about wanting a toy another kid is playing with. Today it happened to be my son. He was sitting with a few pieces that connect to make a bridge. This kid came over and tried to take the pieces from my son. God bless him, he held his ground and looked over at me like, "Do I have to give these up?" His mother then says, "Well, we ALL have to share. Maybe that boy will share with you." For the record, I hate that passive-aggressive bullshit. Not to mention....THAT'S NOT SHARING!!! THAT'S TAKING. There is a huge difference. Might I recommend a dictionary in which to look it up. I wasn't going to say anything in response, other than telling my son, that "No, you're fine. Keep playing" but the woman just wouldn't stop with her yapping about "sharing" said repeatedly solely for my benefit. I finally just looked at her and said, "Encouraging your child to take my child's toys is not SHARING. It's TAKING. Don't misuse the first word to justify the selfish act of the second." The room fell silent.

I just don't think sharing should be used as a justification for taking what you want right when you want it. Don't misunderstand. I don't advocate selfishness. Kids need to learn to share certain things (within reason) and take turns, etc. My issue becomes when people (read parents) use the term "share" to essentially justify taking something they want or they want their kid to have. Don't try to categorize that under the heading of "sharing." Just be honest about what it is.

If my kid has five toys and is playing with one then his friends can play with the other four. That's sharing. Sharing doesn't mean that my kid has to give up the one toy he is currently playing with because some other kid wants it right at that moment. My kid clearly wants it too. Which is why he is playing with it in the first place. So, why do some people view sharing as one kid having to give that one toy up when another wants it? That is not sharing at all. To me, there is a difference.

I would never expect a parent to make their kid give up his/her toy simply because my kid wants it too. I'd have my kid(s) find something else to play with until that kid was done with it. I just don't understand the parents who won't tell their kids, "No, that other kid is playing with that toy now, you will have to wait and find something else to play with." There are too many parents who are teaching their kids that to "share" means to a) take what you want when you want it and if that kid doesn't give it up then he/she isn't "sharing" and b) you have to give up a toy you are playing with if another kid expresses the slightest bit of interest and if you don't then you aren't "sharing" either.

There is going to be a generation, even more so than there already is, that will just expect instant results, instant gratification, never having been exposed to the concept of delayed gratification because they were always given what they wanted when they wanted it with little regard for others.

When relaying this story to a friend today she said, "Well, my husband doesn't believe in sharing at all. He thinks once you claim a toy it is yours to play with until you are done. That may be five minutes or it might be all day." I'm interested in your thoughts on this. Where do you stand? What say you?


Feeling Just Right said...

Oh My! I am so impressed you had the guts to tell her off to her face! Big pat on the back!! I love how Mothers get this extra strength when they need it.

I agree with your friend's husband too. Could be all day. The others have got to respect your interests as well.

Nancy said...

OMG! I wish you were around when my son was little! You were so right on with your comment to that mother. I hope she and every other mother in that room chewed on that all night long and reconsidered their views on "sharing".

I agree with your friend's husband. If you claim something to play with, it's yours until you give it up. Because really, if there are other things to play with they can play with something else.

I always walked a very thin line with "sharing" because I always felt if I didn't tell him to "share" even when I felt he didn't have to, that I and he would be viewed as "that spoiled only child" and his "only child mother".

Total mad props to you!

Robyn said...

You are my hero!

Bear likes to play at a toystore in our mall that has a big train table with lots of trians. I never make him "give up" what he's playing with and don't let him take anyone else's. I encourage him (and other kids, if necessary) to take turns and I've never had a problem.

Moxymama said...

Feeling Just Right...I usually try to say nothing in these circumstances, but I was just soooo annoyed!
Thanks Nancy! I agree that there is a fine line and I've found myself in the past making my kid give something else so I don't look like the selfish mom, but the more I thought about it the more upset with myself I became, you know?
Robyn, thanks! And the world needs more parents like you.

宛AshleyRemley1218儒 said...

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Here In Franklin said...

As a 51-year-old with no children, I (and my husband) are experts in child raising. :) I agree with you 100 percent. My friends think I have a healthy sense of entitlement. It's nothing compared to the kids being raised today.

Tima Murrell said...

Found your blog by hitting the next blog button.
I totally agree with your view and your friend's husband. I'm SO proud of you for saying something. That took some real courage.