All through my teaching career and as a parent I have been fascinated with
the concept of sharing.
Watching children interact with each other over toys, books, crayons,
anything in fact that they perceived to be their property was of great
interest to me.
Can we help children to share, can we mould them into being generous with
their belongings. I don’t think so.
And after all this time I’m going to say this out loud .. SHARING IS NOT A
NORMAL HUMAN CONCEPT . yet we make children share their belongings with
visiting children, never mind a sibling.
In school I watched countless groups of children with one box of crayons on
the table. One of them would attempt to keep the crayon box right in front
of them, and give out the crayons one at a time. Then another would attempt
to gain control of the box and a tussle ensued. The “I don’t care” child
would just thrust a fist into the box and make off with a handful. The
cry-baby would shriek and whine till she finally got the whole box. You can
picture this, right?
So early on in my teaching days I made sure that each child had a small box
of crayons all to themselves with each child having exactly the same
I was criticised by head teachers and others from time to time, but I stood
by my beliefs and the result was a happy group that had nothing to fight
about. I used this principle in all areas of my classroom and it worked
99percent of the time.
My own daughters grew up with this as well. Although I was able to teach
them eventually that sometimes we really do have to share expensive
important items. The girl’s biggest teenage angst was over the TV remote.
We only had one TV and who ever got to the remote first, laid claim to it
for the night .. or there ensued a few verbal altercations and door banging.
We later discovered that one of them even took the remote to school every
day in her backpack, thereby giving her possession when she got home.!!!
So I confiscated the remote, but the whining was worse. We all soon got
tired of this and we got another TV ….was I right ….was I wrong?
I knew it was the right answer, when we had instant peace.
I did set rules though, homework had to be completed before I gave them
Eventually it was a non-issue and they ended up watching the same TV … go
Now a generation later, I am witnessing their children and the ugly concept
The boys share nuthin….and I do mean nuthin. They watch each other very
closely and pounce when necessary, or push and pull to get what they want
… sometimes its trivial, sometimes its war.
It used to be over Lego pieces …one tiny red coloured square would start a
fight of national proportions, and both boys would end up in a time-out.
Keep in mind this was even with four very large containers full of the same
little squares in the room . but no, the coveted one was the one his brother
was holding in his hand as tightly as he could.
That was then …I almost yearn for the Lego fights…. we have now
progressed to the I-Pad and computer wars!!! This is serious stuff. And
they have taken to racing each other to get to Grandma’s house first to get
to my I-Pad too.
The baby who is 1 now, doesn’t care, she just grabs at what she wants, or
she screams – so naturally we give it to her.!
So, maybe I’ve finally learned how to handle this sharing thing after all –
just give in !!!!!!!!!!!!!