I have not written for a damn long time. But, hey, I’m back, so here it goes.
I recently returned to the classroom after a hiatus of well, a while. It is amazing and rewarding and exhausting and hilarious and just…something.
It is also quite baffling. Because I can’t seem to figure out what has happened with the kids and the parents and the schools in the time I went from being a teacher to being a mom to being a teacher again. It is a whole new game out there…and one of those newish, crowdfunded games with odd rules and too many cards and such at that.
So I’ll start here. Because this s**t is freaks me out.
For today’s fun, we’re going to talk about one of the most basic social concepts of all, one that many of us start to learn before we are even talking. Why?
Because people are effing doing it wrong.
The definition of the word share is: to use, occupy, or enjoy (something) jointly with another or others.
As in “The boys shared the cars.” Or “Susie shared her blocks with Billy.” Or “The children shared the ball by taking turns.”
The definition of the word share is not “I want what you have so you have to give it to me right now. “
Except, in our crazy modern world…it kinda is.
Sharing went from being the above definition–as in, we’re going to take turns, or divvy it up, or enjoy it together to…
“Give me your s**t.”
I am frequently told “He/She won’t share.”
Except what the kids aren’t saying is that someone is using all of something and won’t let anyone else use it. There is no concept of cooperative play in the use of the term “sharing.”
What the children are saying is “They have that and I want it and that person won’t give it to me.”
“Share” is a magic word that means you get the thing that someone else has because if they don’t give up the goods, then that a**hole doesn’t know how to effing share!
So…typical (and frequent) situation….Little Susie is reading a book. Little Billy also wants to read that book. Little Billy does not approach Little Susie to ask if he can read the book, too. Little Billy instead tells Little Susie to “share the book,” and holds out his hand for her to give it to him.When Little Susie does not, Little Billy promptly wanders over to tell the teacher Little Susie “won’t share” or “is not sharing.”
Now, the teacher can gently explain that Little Susie is reading the book right now.
(This will not go over well.)
The teacher can then gently offer alternatives, such as read the book together (shocking!) or take turns reading the book (gasp!) or perhaps (no, just no!)…. wait till Susie is done reading the book and then she will share it with you (are you f***ing kidding me?)
All good suggestions right? And proper modeling of how to share? With a little social skills intervention thrown in? Textbook s**t, yo.
It won’t effing work. Because somehow, somewhere along the way, we broke sharing.
We f***ing broke it.
Even if you explain and model all of the above solutions to the “sharing” of the book to Little Billy, there will not be acceptance of these options. There may be pouting, there may be stomping. There may be crying or whining…or, if it is a really good day, the seventh circle of hell will break loose and Little Billy will go home and tell Mom that Little Susie wouldn’t share and Mom will call you on your lunch break and demand to know why you, the teacher, did not make Little Susie “share” that book, as it is Little Billy’s God-given right to be “shared” with by having the object he wants given to him.
And sadly, this will be the response of most children (and *cough* parents.) Not because we aren’t teaching the concept of sharing properly in the classroom, but because this jacked up idea of what”sharing” encompasses is now hardwired into human brains.
I am not sure if it starts at sandbox playdates when the babies are told to “Give him/her your bucket” because the mommies are so fearful the other judgy mommies will judge them and their baby because they brought a red bucket to the sandbox and are playing with the red bucket they brought, but that other baby, he has a blue bucket but wants the red bucket…. so we make our baby “share.”
Or if this simply could just be because we have devolved into such a society of selfish a**holes that this kind of behavior is simply deemed acceptable.
I want it, you have it, give it to me…entitlement, instant gratification, privilege, and all the other happy buzzwords people much smarter than me with much better blogs are writing about.
Scary s**t, huh? That we are raising generations of kids who won’t know what it means to read a book with another person, or fill a bucket with sand together, or take turns playing on the swings…because the things should just be given to..er, I mean, shared with them.
I may be overthinking it.
Or I may just be right, and the world needs to get off their collective a**es and kick back with a little old school Sesame Street or O.G. Mr. Rogers and get their heads on straight…
Because we’re effing doing it wrong.