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Posts tagged ‘children’

Day 12 – Do we really need to learn to share?

I have two young daughters who often play together. They also play with neighbor kids and therefore share toys, bikes, and experiences.

I love when kids genuinely play together. They often come up with solutions that some of our leaders could learn to model.

But at times a child will want to play with their own toy by themselves. And whether someone else wants to play with their toy does not really matter to them. It’s their toy and they have no problem saying no.

As adults, we often feel obligated to tell them to “learn to share”. I am often the first one. But I wonder how valid this is. Knowing that my child does have experiences of community, should she always be willing to share what she has? Isn’t it also respecting her than to say “it’s ok for her to be selfish”?

I own a car. While I have no problem lending it to a friend in need of a ride, I also know no one would “force me” to share my car.

So why should we force a child to share? Or even limit their time of pleasure? (as in take turns).

When it is a game or object shared by the community, I love the idea of teaching them the joy of common experience, but when it is something they consider their own, I feel that respecting their desire for play is a much needed allowance.

How does it get any better than that?

What if our children really did know better?

It is Sunday night, about 8:30 PM and I am trying to put my daughters to bed. They had a lot of fun today, visiting with dinosaurs, drawing on Mommy’s iPad, sleeping, eating, watching TV. Life is good. So why close their eyes and sleep?

Honestly, I just want my “grown up time”. And when my daughter cries for the 100th time “I want more TV”, something inside tells me “what if she knew better?”. So I let her go back to the TV, and of course, within the next 15 minutes, they are both asleep.

Yes, I was told they need a good night sleep, to brush their teeth, to eat their vegetables, etc. But what if they knew what’s best for themselves? Who am I to say they need to be exactly like every other child on the planet? In fact, who knows what every child needs? Not me!

As an adult, I spent a great deal of time remembering what it’s like to be a child. What if we never had to forget?

In all of the growing up I did, I know one thing for sure: I am the only one who knows what’s best for me. So how do I know at what age I know what’s best for me? What if it started at birth? I know that when my child was a newborn, I let her tell me when she was hungry or tired. So when did I start telling my children when they are supposed to eat and sleep?

Yes, there are certain structures (school, family meals) that will influence some of when they should eat or sleep. But I bet you their little bodies know exactly how to adapt to these events. In fact, I bet you the only way for them to adapt and digest properly or get the rest needed is if I do let them tell me when, how much and how long.

If like me you know your child to be a bright light meant to shine on this world (like the song says), will you join me in letting our children tell us what they need?

How does it get any better than this?

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