Growing up with multiple siblings instills many virtues in a child. One of the most important of these is the ability to share. Not that I think only children are incapable of sharing, but I feel as if it comes so much more naturally to kids with many siblings. They grow up learning that they can’t have everything they want when they want it, including Mommy and Daddy’s attention. So from toys to clothing to bedrooms, in a large family, it’s probably shared. I asked Elizabeth Lyn, a child of five (like myself), how she felt having to share everything growing up. “I appreciate that my parents made me and my four siblings share things. It really taught us what was important in life. I didn’t need brand new clothes when my older sister’s hand-me-downs were still in good condition…Plus, who really needs that much junk around their house?” Elizabeth also noted that sharing helped her to prioritize her life. Sharing has encouraged her to work hard to develop real relationships and has kept her from becoming materialistic. I think she makes a good point that when we avoid focusing on materialism, we can focus more on the people and experiences in our lives. Spain agrees. The Action Against Hunger Spain activist group came up with an experiment to see whethr or not kids would share when faced with the dilemma of having food, while the person next to you has none. This resonates to the real-world issue of millions of people going hungry everyday, while others throw out buckets of food. When you’re raised to share it’s easier to recognize the inequalities in the world.
I appreciate when TV shows and other forms of media demonstrate sharing in a positive light. I think it’s easier to learn how to share when you see the positive impacts sharing has on others. I caught on through advertising that not sharing was emphasized to help sell products. For example, the poor Trix Rabbit never gets to eat any Trix cereal because “Trix are for kids.”
But then again, we see other advertisements that glorify sharing.
Of course, nobody knows how to share better than our good friends at Sesame Street. So if you’re ever feeling like you’ve been spoiled rotten and need a reality check, stop by and take a lesson from these happy critters: