Learning to Share – 4 Things to Think About

Posted on July 19, 2018

“Don’t be selfish. Share your toys with your sister, please.”

“Why won’t you share your candy with your brother? It’s not nice to keep it to yourself.”

“You need to share the iPad with Jeffrey. It’s his turn.”

“If you don’t share your things, no one will want to play with you. Let Cathy take a ride on your bike.”

We are constantly nudging our kids to share. When they don’t, we are quick to remind them that their behavior is selfish. Our goal is to teach our kids that by sharing our possessions, we foster connections through consideration, kindness, and generosity. That is how we encourage inclusiveness.

Yet, there are certain other things that we never advocate sharing—things we do not even discuss. These are things that we are preconditioned to consider “private.” This week and next I’ll write about 4 of those things that I believe we must teach our kids to share. As you read about them, please keep an open mind and reflect upon whether or not you yourself are willing to share these with your friends or family.

  1. MONEY: Yes, this is at the top of the list because we are conditioned to believe that if we even talk about money—let alone really share it—we are being egotistical or materialistic. We believe that others will think we are boasting about what we have or complaining about what we don’t. In either case, they’ll take a step away from us. But that’s hardly true. Moreover, if a topic is taboo in discussion, how can we learn more about it and how to grow it? Discussion has to start with the parents—rich or “poor.”

Then comes the next step: Sharing the money we have. Too often we berate our kids, saying:

“This is your money. Why did you give him five dollars?”

“I don’t want you giving away my hard-earned money.”

“Money doesn’t grow on trees. This is for our family and not for you to blow on your friends.”

That’s hardly a way to promote inclusiveness. The oxymoron is that we want our children to be financially intelligent, but we only teach them exclusiveness around money. Why not encourage your kids to share their money just as you encourage them to share candy, toys, or the iPad. Teach them how to wisely keep some for themselves and to share if they see a person in need. Sure, someone may take advantage of this and strong-arm them for a few dollars. Be okay with that. They will learn and grow from it. Teach them the concept of abundance by advocating that there is a great deal of money in the world—enough for all of us to share and enjoy. The more open we are about sharing it, the more we manifest. The only hard lesson we need to press upon our kids is that they must share with humility.

If money is a day-to-day topic of discussion, and we ourselves are not defined by it, neither will our kids be shackled by it. Give your kids the freedom to talk about and share their money. If we want your kids to gain financial intelligence and independence, we must give up everything that will weigh them down.

  1. TIME: We are living in an age where time has become a commodity. A parent’s’ biggest complaint is “I DON’T HAVE TIME.” We barely have time to get through the day-to-day tasks that we have to do; there is no time to simply be.

The only time we use the word “be” is when we say, “At 4, I have to be at soccer practice,” or “at 6:30 I have to be home for the plumber to repair my broken sink.” All our “being” is attached to a number on the clock. But human beings are not wired to follow the numbers on the clock day in and day out, year after year.

Get yourself and your kids off the clock. You cannot connect with your kids if there is no “free” time. Time will not stop for you. The clock is constantly ticking and moving, as is life. Free up at least five minutes a day for yourself and your kids. I call this tool TAKE 5. Do this for just 30 days, and watch how effective your communication with your kids will become. See the trust factor escalate in your relationship. Watch the arguments deescalate in your home, to be replaced by joy and laughter. Take 5 is a tested tool that will change the trajectory of your relationship with your kids.

But first, in order to do this, you must talk about time. You must sit with your kids and let them know that you will make a conscious effort to get off the clock every day by yourself and with them. Ask them to help by reminding you the first day you fail to Take 5. Trust me, they will! And then magic will happen. They will start to share off-the-clock time with their siblings, friends, and peers. Most importantly, they will learn what unscheduled time feels like. It will give them an inner address to go to when they are overwhelmed and overstretched.

Simply opening up a discussion about time will open up their awareness to it. Start with simple questions like “What do you think about time?” “Does time really fly?” “What would stopping time mean to you?” And then be prepared for a whirlwind discussion.

In our next post, I will share two more important things we must learn to share. If, by then, you have been bold enough to discuss the first two with your kids, leave a comment so that our community can learn through your courage and growth.