I find this concept of spending a disproportionate amount of my day teaching my kids to share rather bizarre. Picture the scene- you are at the station waiting for a train and you are in the middle of an important work call. A drunk, swaying, slightly crazed man heads your way. You ignore him and continue with your call. He starts shouting ‘MINE… I WANNA PHONE, GIMME PHONE LADY’. What do you do? Probably what most of us tend to do in these situations, ignore him and hope he’ll go away. What about when he doesn’t? What do you expect other people to do? Probably what you don’t expect is for some annoying bystander to step forward and say ‘could you please share that immediately, it is this unstable individual’s turn now’. More likely you would hope someone would call the police. There have been many times at various playgroups that my two year old has looked at me with a ‘call the police, this individual clearly needs some kind of law enforcement ASAP’ look in their eye. And do I call the police? Well no, that would be a little weird. I can just imagine the convo-
Police- ‘what seems to be the problem here m’am?’
Me- ‘well, officer, that child wants this overpriced plastic monstrosity but my two year old was playing with it and quite frankly it’s the first time he hadn’t needed my undivided attention in 13 and a half months soooo….’.
So I don’t do that. What I do is what we all do. I say ‘Charlie is just playing with this multicoloured eyesore but I’m sure he’ll be more than happy to share it with you, won’t you Charlie?’. I am the annoying bystander (in this metaphoric example, not in life, in life I’m more the annoying interferer).
The point is we expect more of our kids than we as adults are able to do. Someone gets given a pen as a birthday present and we all want a try. Do we expect them to spend the day sharing their new pen? No we bloody don’t. We manage our strange pen envy, question why we are jealous of a pen and wonder which skinflint bought someone the lamest birthday present ever.
So next time someone approaches your child, points at the toy they are playing with and shouts ‘MINE’ tell them to do one, possession is nine tenths of the law apparently. Unless that child is mine, in which case could you please teach your child to share and can I have a turn with your pen please.