Sharing: Is it always a Good Idea?
Does sharing encourage the right values in our children? When attending a birthday party recently, a wise parent touted, “I did not teach my kids to share.” The group of like-minded, value-based parents gasped. She continued, “ Why do we teach sharing? No one really likes to share. I don’t share.” Now, this mother is a very generous person so her declaration was profound and challenging. Could it be that the importance of sharing has been too highly overrated by many of us parents? I myself remember causing my daughter much strife when I required her to share her favorite toy only to have it broken beyond repair. Use these thought provoking conversation starting questions to not only encourage your children to consider how important sharing is, but to also evaluate your own conclusions about sharing.
Why do we share?
This may be the only situation where the answer, “Because you said so”, is acceptable. After all, reevaluating the idea is what this conversation starter is all about. If they do not know why, you have something to talk about. A reminder about the golden rule could be made during this response time.
What do you not want to share?
Depending on the age of your children, the answers can be comical and that is fine. Dinner should be an enjoyable time for the family. There is not a wrong answer: teaching wisdom and discernment will help your children learn how to make right choices. There are things you do not share. Use this opportunity to talk about setting boundaries and agree with your children: they do not have to share EVERYTHING.
What is the difference between sharing and being generous?
As your children consider this question you may need to define generosity or for the younger children explain that being generous is the opposite of being selfish. They may understand sharing to be the same thing but there are times when sharing is not only unnecessary but also unwise. There are things we do not share. Generosity suggests a kindness and an abundant mindset beyond the simple act of sharing.
Ultimately, as parents you want your children to be kind hearted. By allowing them to decide what to share not only empowers them, but also encourages them to think for themselves and consider how they would like to be treated in reciprocating circumstances. Conclude the conversation with the notion that they should share with others as they would like to have others share with them.