I've been thinking about sharing a bunch lately. Sharing... such a simple concept. But really, without sharing life would be so much worse.
I may put too much emphasis on sharing. Maybe... (Can you really??) I am sure there are people out there who think I overshare. Tell you all too many details. Spend too much time writing emails every Thursday. I happen to think that I am enriched as much as anyone who chooses to read these weekly messages by simply sharing my thoughts and feelings. Honestly, just spending some time thinking about some of the things I write (and share) makes me a better person. (corny, but true...)
Sharing, obviously, is also something that can be SUPER obvious. As a mom to a few boys who have already been through the "share your toys" lessons and a couple more who are just getting to those stages, I know how hard it can be to give up a piece of candy you really love or take a turn with a favorite toy. And I know anyone out there with kids has probably gotten kind of sick of playing the role of referee.
There are certainly a million different places that you can look for tips on how to help your kids turn into unselfish adults who don't mind sharing their possessions. This is not one of those places. Because believe me when I tell you that I have no idea how my kids got so good at sharing, but I am proud as a peacock that they are! I don't feel like we have done anything special to help form this part of their personalities. I certainly encourage the behavior that we want to see - and I'm sure their teachers do the same while they are at school, but they are turning out so much better than I could ever take credit for!
Maybe they have picked up the idea that sharing is OK from watching the people around them. I know Bob and I don't do as much as we probably could and certainly not as much as others do, but we try. We buy fundraiser stuff from the rival football team. We donate regularly to charity - even if it is just clothes and toys we don't need any more. We try to help out where we can with our time and talents. The other day Bob went to football practice and carried 2 chairs from the van to the field. I found this curious. He does, after all, have only one butt. I actually questioned him about this in a way that probably made him a bit defensive. (As only a wife could do!) His response was, simply, he had an extra chair in the van and there's always someone who doesn't have one. On that particular night, the mom of the team's quarterback (someone we happen to have made friends with 6 years ago) was pleasantly surprised to have a place to sit even after discovering that her chair had been left at home.
Just a little bit of extra effort and a good intention made her day. Just a little bit of extra effort!
I've noticed recently that my boys are actually really good at sharing, particularly with each other. And this fact makes me SO proud!
A week or so ago Spencer came out of daycare with these two little finger puppets. (He got to go to the treasure box for filling up his reading log, which honestly is not something he needs any kind of motivation to do anyway!) When Beckett saw these finger puppets, he immediately wanted one. When Zane saw them, he did too. Spencer didn't give it a second thought before he put a little plastic monster puppet on the finger of each of his little brothers. He never saw those little puppets again. They were not only shared, but given up freely!
Of course sharing food and treats is something that happens all the time, but even Beckett gets into the action. When he gets into the "snackin' closet" and comes out with fruit snacks, he never has just one packet. He always has one for Zane too. Always!
Quinn is more giving of his time than his stuff. He tends to keep his stuff pretty close to the vest, but his time is there for the taking from anyone who asks. He will let Beckett sit beside him while he's playing games. He will lay in a darkened toy room watching shows with Zane. He will take Ozzie outside. He never complains when we ask him to help. He's easy and agreeable and tends to be way more thoughtful than I think 9 year old boys are expected to be. He makes himself chocolate milk as a snack before bed every night. On many nights he surprises me with a nice glass of cold water, just because he thought I might be thirsty.
And Zane - who is also understood to be the most spoiled of our boys - seems to somehow inherently know that he should take care of others. On his special Daddy-one-on-one trip to the aquarium he got to visit the gift shop. This would be the highlight of the trip for most kids, right! It would almost seem acceptable if he had thrown a fit and been greedy asking for this or that or the other thing - just because it was HIS special day. But he didn't do that. Instead he walked around looking for gifts for his brothers. He picked out stuff that they would like. It wasn't until Bob explained to our fair-haired little guy that he didn't need to get anything for his brothers, that he narrowed down on a small stuff turtle that he thought he'd like for himself. And he has treasured that new friend ever since.
There are little moments all the time. Some of them are so subtle that they don't even really register. It's really not until I stop and REALLY watch and replay in my mind some of the things that I see, that I can recognize that there are some really awesome things happening in our family. My boys are starting to figure out that sharing with others (especially their brothers) is pretty cool. They are starting to understand that taking care of other people is OK - and can be kind of fun.
Here's a picture of the dogs sharing a toy. I'm not sure their motives are quite as pure as the boys, but it's fun to watch anyway. A houseful of stuff to play with and they choose the same thing... typical!
This weekend we are off to Knoxville to play in our first football tournament. I have no idea what to expect (other than some really smelly laundry!) We leave tomorrow and will have dinner with the team after weigh-ins for the players. Then we will play on Saturday morning, Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. If they happen to win all 3 games, then we will play again on Sunday afternoon. I'm excited to see how they do. I'm excited to take a mini vacation - kind of. And you know that I'll share the whole experience with you next week! :)