So I've recently read an awesome post by an awesome lady “MY CHILD IS NOT REQUIRED TO SHARE WITH YOURS,” Alanya Kolberg, and wow did it have me thinking. About all sorts of stuff. Let me start by saying way to go Alanya! I hear ya sister, please allow me to validate and congratulate your parenting style and subsequent slaying of the naysayers out there. Parenting is personal, and shame on those people who stand in judgment, wagging their fingers and shaking their heads. Let's all try to build each other up- it's takes a village, no?
I agree, my kid is not required to share with your kid, and this is one of our "Parenting By-Law" grey areas...meaning sometimes yea, sometimes nope! If my sweet angel who can do no wrong decides to bring her favorite toys to the playground, even after I have gently reminded her that she may be asked to share them, in now way will I force her to hand them over to anyone. She's a kid, and in her naive and irrational mind, letting that toy go to someone else, especially someone that she doesn't know, could mean that she will never see it again! And that's scary! It's more likely that I will "hold" it for her, and no one gets it. End of story. As far as the general public goes.
HOWEVER, should her friends or cousins come to her house to play, she will be required to share. Or if she brings her stuff to her friend's house, or her cousin's house, she will be required to share. At that point, I feel comfortable expressing the importance of people over things. We try really hard to make sure that she does not value material objects over interactions with loved ones. And she is awesome at sharing (most of the time) she makes the right choice and gives others a turn with her super cool fantastic stuff. But like I said, we drop by a playground and she gets the bum's rush by a group of other kids demanding that she hand over her belongings, nope! I will be on her side 100% of the time, that's my job. No one is entitled to her stuff (material or other).
And this has me thinking about all of the other types of sharing we do, as kids, then as adults. We share laughs, tears, germs, words, food, beds, chewing gum...and with this comes a lot of over-sharing. Like, a lot. Like tons and tons of over-sharing. Thanks to the interweb, we can share anything we want with anyone at anytime. Picture of a celeb? Google it. Secret recipe for brownies? Google it. Politician's embarrassing secrets? Google it. Nuclear launch codes? Well now I've gone too far, but you get the idea. Social media helps too, in the enabling of utterly insane amounts of over-sharing. Don't get me wrong, I think it's great to share helpful info, stories and experiences, but do you realize that our kids will never know a time when, if you want to know what your friend is doing tonight, you picked up the phone or walked to their house to say "Hey, watcha doing?" And that lead to verbal communication, shared memories, even bonding. Seeing "So and so checked in at whose-a-what's-it's house" on your phone does not have the same effect.
Here's another thought, not only are we over-sharing our day to day activities, but our every thought, dream, nightmare and opinion goes out there! I'd like to teach my kid that not every nugget of thought is a jewel, and while expression is imperative to development as a human being, we can be selective about what we share and when. Are we so narcissistic that we think everyone needs to know what we think all the time? I try not to be. Even writing this blog makes me uneasy, but I did my research, collected my thoughts, and cultivated a genuine opinion pertaining to a dilemma that other's may be thinking about too. So I figured I'd share, cause I like to try to be helpful and supportive. And we all have a choice to participate, or not participate in all of this. To read, or not to read. To post, or not to post. To share with everyone, or to share with the few who really need to know.
In a world where we can go all day without actually speaking to another person (I know this because I text rather than call, I email rather than ask in person, and I pre-order my coffee from Starbucks on my phone so I can literally bypass any human contact whatsoever), shouldn't we be cultivating communication skills, rather than "catching up" with each other by reading Facebook time lines? Talking to each other is how we learn about appropriate boundaries, and body language and facial expressions, and so much more! So for the important things, I try to have that conversation in person, so that I may reflect my gratitude and sincerity to the person I am communicating with. And show them that they are worth my time and consideration.
My final point, let's not forget that there are crazy people out there, I mean predators. People that just want to watch the world burn (thank you Alfred), and the more personal information we put out there, the more vulnerable we are. Do I want my kid to grow up and find that her entire childhood has been published for the world to see? Or do I want her to learn and know that her milestones and everyday adorableness has been appropriately cataloged and shared with discretion so that she can make the choice for herself? After she has learned about accountability and responsibility regarding technology. So let's just dial it back a notch or two, shall we? Let's share hugs and handshakes, over "pokes" and "likes". Let's share tables and meals over group chats and face time. Let's share kind words and encouragement over judgmental comments and replies.
Diapers and Dogfood Blog
I'm Jen, mama to the most incredibly adorable pumpkin in the world. Please allow me to share my experiences about life, and running to the store for diapers & dog food. All. The. Time.