The Sharing Song
Spring is back! After a very long winter, you can’t help but to be grateful for the longer days, the warm and comfortable weather and more importantly, that you can put away all those heavy clothes and boots. It is priceless! You breath better, you walk straighter and you feel happier. I am a true believer that different weather conditions can affect your mood. I think this has to do with the amount of sun exposure and the fact that you enjoy being outside in contact with nature and other human beings. For a while I couldn’t decide if spring or fall were my favorite seasons, but after a couple of years living in the US I have decided that Spring is the winner. While fall is beautiful, with leaves falling on the ground in amazing orange and yellow tones, it is also a reminder that winter is coming. You don’t know how much I dislike to start putting more and more clothes on, to leave work “at night” and wake up “at night”. To me fall is a reminder that tough times are ahead. You might think I’m whining, and to be honest, I am, but when you are born in a tropical country, your DNA is not used to months of cold temperatures and darkness. Spring, is nature’s way of telling you that the misery is over, that better times are coming ahead and that once again you made it through the nasty winter! Mother nature is rewarding you for surviving all those months of cold weather.
Since my daughter’s birth, more than ever, Spring has become the season when outdoor activities begin. It is the time when you go back to the playgrounds and run into the moms you met the year before. You get to have meaningless conversations about children and then run fast to avoid any fall or fight with another kid. Mother’s world is a complex world; interacting with other moms can be challenging at times. Under that blanket of politeness and friendliness there are all sorts of characters you start to discover when you start going to the playground – It is like a microcosmos. There is the nice mom, the chatty mom, the quiet mom, the mom that can’t stop talking about how great their kids are, and the bullying mom. Let’s face it, even as grown ups, we all have to deal with bullies…
As my daughter grows, and becomes more interactive, I notice these characters more and more. The more I’m aware of them, the more I’m amazed at how different and sometimes difficult it is the interaction with other moms. When children are around, you always have to behave your best; at the end, you are a role model. However, when faced with uncomfortable situations, mothers get stuck between doing what they would normally do and doing what a “role model” would do. This is specially hard for the bullying moms, who hide behind words such as “share” to “run over” other people. For instance, the other day I was at a playground and my daughter was on the swings. A mom that came after me and was waiting for the swings to be available said to her daughter “Don’t worry, that girl will SHARE the swings with you soon”. Then she looked at me to make sure I got the message…. I got really upset! My daughter had been in the swing for less than 2 min. and that woman wanted me to give it up so she could use it right away. I guess what upset me the most was that she was forcing me to give up the swing by hiding under a nobel concept such as sharing. Off course, I didn’t SHARE the swing with her, and didn’t care if she thought I was being selfish for not leaving when she wanted. This has happened to me a couple of times. On another occasion, a mom wanted my daughter to “share” (give up) a toy she was using so her son could play with it. If my daughter is using the toy, shouldn’t the mom teach her son to be RESPECTFUL and wait for his turn?
The point I want to make is this: I know that sharing is an important concept, specially for toddlers who have a very difficult time learning how to share. At the end, most of us learn how to share, right?. However, there are situations when some parents bully other parents by using the word sharing to get what they want. I’m sorry, and if you run into me at a playground you might not like me, but I’m not going to teach my daughter to give up her stuff when someone feels like taking them from her. It might be called sharing now, but when they get older, the kids that take things from other kids will become bullies. And what do you do with a bully? you have to defend yourself. So no, I’m not teaching her to share that way, sharing should come naturally, and from the heart, not from a forced situation.
This song is by Jack Johnson, my daughter’s favorite artist.