As kids, most of us are taught that sharing is a sign of good character, and an important lesson to learn young and carry into adulthood.
But in a recent Facebook post, a Missouri mom took the opposite stance on that notion — and started an online debate over the real merits of the practice.
“MY CHILD IS NOT REQUIRED TO SHARE WITH YOURS,” Alanya Kolberg, of Springfield, writes in the April 19 post, which had received over 270,000 reactions, nearly 700 comments, and more than 236,000 shares as of Friday morning.
Kolberg, a mother of three, recounts taking her son Carson to the park and watching six boys swarm him, “demanding that he share his transformer, Minecraft figure, and truck.”
As she watched Carson clutch the toys to his chest, he shot her a look of worry, and she let him know he didn’t have to share if he didn’t want to, she writes in the post.
“You can tell them no, Carson,” she recalls telling him. “Just say no. You don’t have to say anything else.”
When other parents gave her dirty looks, Kolberg felt prompted to speak out on sharing and the messaging the lesson may send kids.
“If I, an adult, walked into the park eating a sandwich, am I required to share my sandwich with strangers in the park? No!” she writes. “Would any well-mannered adult, a stranger, reach out to help themselves to my sandwich, and get huffy if I pulled it away? No again.”
She wraps up the post by arguing that sharing becomes negative when it means putting others’ needs and wants before our own.
“The goal is to teach our children how to function as adults,” Kolberg writes. “While I do know some adults who clearly never learned how to share as children, I know far more who don't know how to say no to people, or how to set boundaries, or how to practice self-care. Myself included.
“The next time your snowflake runs to you, upset that another child isn't sharing,” she continues, “please remember that we don't live in a world where it's conducive to give up everything you have to anyone just because they said so, and I'm not going to teach my kid that that's the way it works.”
In the corresponding comments, some parents have taken issue with Kolberg calling other children “snowflakes,” but many of the commenters agree with her argument.