Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Was it generosity that killed the cat?

I've been trying an experiment lately. Consciously being more generous.

I am not a natural "sharer". I know that theoretically nobody is, but I have had friends who make it seem like second nature. Sonia specifically comes to mind. My brother is also good at it. Charlie is really good at sharing (maybe it comes from being one of the oldest in a family of nine kids? Not sure.) But the people I know who are natural sharers are NOT first-born. No. I am first-born. I don't know the total connection. I just know that when someone gives me something, it's mine.

When Mom sends me dark chocolate M&Ms in a package, they're mine. When I get French fries with my meal, they're mine. When I choose licorice as my snack at the movie theater, it's mine.

Now, as an adult I realize that this viewpoint is ridiculous, I'm just telling you what my very first thought is. I am perfectly capable of sharing my stuff, and I habitually do, but it is a total conscious decision. It is NOT second nature.

I assume that everyone has a hard time sharing at some point (though I have yet to see that in my husband, he is good at giving up sleep, food, whatever). What I am talking about is a general outlook in life of "this is mine, and that's yours. I might choose to let you have some of mine, but don't expect it. "

I have been a mother for three and a half years now, and am struck with how often I am required to share. From a sweet little boy asking, "Mama, can I try some of yours?", to bigger things like my time for sleeping when I have a nursing newborn. It's all sharing. And now, as a mother to a preschooler and a toddler, I need to teach sharing. Um, can I call in a stunt mom for that?

So here is my new experiment: when that sweet little boy says, "Mama, can I try some of that?" I say cheerfully and without hesitation, "Sure, have a bite." Not, "Honey, you have yours right there." Because how can I expect little ones to share when their best example is hoarding?

Know what I did last night? I shared my coveted dark chocolate M&Ms with Charlie, and then I shared them today, too! I might as well toot my own horn, it's not that loud. I have a long way to go yet.


Lacey said...

Oh Christy you just described me so well. I am so not a good sharer. Not that I get bitter towards sharing but I definitely prefer "everyone having their own" to "everyone sharing". Hmm, I am an oldest child too. Perhaps you have something with this theory...

Ahhh. Good post. And as a dark chocolate M&M FANATIC I can definitely identify, hehe. Well maybe motherhood will help mold me too?

Candace said...

I just got a lecture on sharing at the class I take Rylie and Logan to. Basically it was about how to get kids to share and how if you force them it won't be an act of kindheartedness. Never the less I too feel forced to share A LOT. Is it too much to ask that my one soda a day be MINE? It is especially hard to share this with Joe as his "sips" are half the can.

I digress, back to the class. The teacher did remind all of us moms how many "opportunities" we have to teach out children to share. Mainly this is done the countless times we share with them. The important thing is to tell them we are sharing, so they can see how great it is. Maybe if we keep telling them, we'll learn to believe it ourselves (this from the only child - need I say more).

annecourager said...

This is SUCH A GOOD REMINDER. I've been thinking about this more from a "servanthood" aspect lately... like, do I only ask my kids to get and/or do things for me, using them as indentured servants, or am I willing to model that same servanthood myself and get/do things for them? I mean, above and beyond the daily mom requirements. :)

I can distinctly remember a time (several times, *blush*) when I did NOT share my popcorn with my children. It was MINE. I was exhibiting the Napoleon Dynamite syndrome, only not with tater tots ("No, go find your own!")

Anonymous said...

Sharing is such a much nicer topic than bugs - sorry Lacey, I came quickly over to this blog to wipe the bugs out of my mind - guess I still need some Bali therapy - PLEASE don't tell us about Bali bugs any time soon. Georgia sounds scary enough :-)

I guess I'm in the sharing category - Kelli just gave me an early b-day present that was time sensitive, along with a bag of Lindt dark chocolate truffles - an absolute angel that Kelli is. This morning John saw the chocolates in our cabinet and asked from whence they came. I told him, "From Kelli - they're my birthday chocolates." He was already unwrapping one as he said, "Can I have one." I said, "Sure" without but a millisecond's hesitation. Ah, heck, there's always more chocolate in this world.
For Easter, I bought us a fancy bottle of massage oil - a real treat. I got 2 massages out of the whole thing. John got the rest. I figure it's not as relaxing to receive a massage, but it's still relaxing to give one. Ah, heck, it's not the end of the world.
I dunno; it's got to have something to do with being one of nine children. Either consume it fast or expect to be happy with what's left.
Hmmmm... What a topic you created. Now tomorrow I'm going to kick myself as I realize I'm really not a sharer and feel all guilty about this post. Sigh. Also, I only have 1 child so far. Mainly sharing consists of, "Sure, go ahead and wipe those peanut butter and jelly hands all over my jeans since we're at the ball park and I don't have a napkin" or "I'll hold you even though you have snot/sand/mud/avocado/etc on you." I can always change my clothes or just shrug off the stares in my own mama-pridedom...
Happy sharing, everyone!

Anonymous said...

I forgot to sign that last post.

joysnatcher said...

I was just thinking - "but, her birthday isn't until October. Right? I'm not so late yet?" Then I saw that it was an EARLY birthday present, I was right, October...whew!

I'm pretty sure you're a sharer, probably most of you are. I have to confess, I'm not always keen to hold my snotty/sandy/muddy/avacado-y baby. I do it. But I am usually cringing inside, thinking out where the next baby wipe access point is. That's what I mean, I am not NATURALLY generous.

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