On a recent newly warm afternoon in spring, I bravely packed up my crew and brought them to the local park. The children dispersed, and as I wandered around checking on their whereabouts and general safety, I found my boy playing with trucks. Trucks that were not his and trucks that I knew did not belong to this particular playground.
I frantically scanned the area for the child who would run screaming toward my son and claim them as his or hers. That is what my child would most likely do if his eyes lay upon a stranger using HIS truck.
I am happy to report that I didn’t find any frantic child but a “mom group” set up with a stockpile of chalk, balls, and vehicles. My mind was blown. How did they manage to haul their children, strollers, and diaper bags along with all these other items to the park? Why would they open themselves up to the public sharing discrepancies these toys may bring?
I shadowed my son, reminding him they were someone else’s toys and someone may come back to play with them. Preparing him for the moment, he would have to turn over these trucks to their rightful owner.
The funny thing is that no parent or child had a problem sharing with my boy. When I thanked the mother who supplied the trucks, she replied that it was her child’s idea to bring extra to the park to share. She told her son to bring only two trucks to the park, but he asked to bring more because other children may want to use them.
I was immediately taken back by the kindness of this boy. I know my children and sharing only occurs when a grown-up is negotiating the interaction. Even then, the sharing is reluctant and definitely grounds for moodiness. Sharing interactions between my three children is difficult. I don’t often find any of my children putting another’s feelings or wishes before their own.