There’s recently this article going viral, or at least it was shared a lot on my Facebook wall: Why a mom does not teach her kids to share. Google it yourself, you’ll find it at the top of the results. At almost the same time, I also read an interesting article (which surprisingly didn’t go as viral as the first mentioned): Are you raising nice kids? Where a psychologist writes about some ways to raise kids to be kind, instead of merely happy or proud of their achievement.
My first thought after reading these two articles was: Why couldn’t we have both attitudes? Is it possible to teach our kids to share, but also to have a healthy sense of belonging? To be kind, but also to be happy at the same time? Is it too much to ask for? No, I don’t think so.
I myself teach my daughter of 2 to share and to play together whenever she feels comfortable with it. To always ask first if she wants to borrow something and that there´s TWO possible answers when she asks: Yes and No. Well actually there’s a third possible answer: Yes but she has to wait. The other way around, if someone asks her to share something, she also has the right to give one of those three answers. And without wanting to praise my own kid, I think my daughter has already grown a sharing and social capability in her very young age.
The key lays, in my opinion, in that word “comfortable”. If you yourself never show any examples that ‘kindness’ can be very equal to ‘happiness’, that you feel comfortable by sharing your belonging (in many cases it’s even the public belonging like the playground’s toys which other kids don’t want to share!), that caring for others makes you happy, that watching someone being happy also can make you happy…and the list goes on and on… If your kids never see these kinds of examples, don’t blame them later on for lacking of empathy and sympathy, for being selfish (or what seems like one), for not being able to wait for their turn, for the many fights at the playground, for putting their own wishes above others.
Childhood is essential for learning, including the humble lessons of humanity. I’m really afraid if, like the author of the first article states, every kid is taught to only look at their own needs and wills without opening their eyes to the surroundings, that in the future we might have a greater number of people who are both not kind, and not happy. Do you think we will live in a nicer world by then?