“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” ― Charlotte Brontë
As parents we spend a lot of time teaching our children why sharing is so important. We analyse ‘fair play’ and we try to ensure that our children have a sense of what is fair and what is not. To help cultivate creative, empathetic, gentle human being – we’d be crazy not to. Helping kids to understand what it is to be an active and positive member of something bigger than just themselves… it’s kind of the whole point of parenting isn’t it?
So we talk about sharing. In our house we talk a lot about kindness, and how being kind is the most important thing we can be. Sure, sometimes we don’t want to share. Sometimes we want to keep things all to ourselves and we want to play with them for longer and longer. We talk about what it means to have something of our own, and whether or not that ‘thing’ would be better if it was shared with other people. We talk about having our go and then passing it on to someone else, so that they can enjoy that thing just as much as we did. Sometimes this filters into the mind of my two year old, sometimes it doesn’t… but it’s a work in progress. Isn’t it? And the work starts here.
I often wonder how we can possibly spend so much time teaching our kids to share when as a whole, adults are pretty terrible at it.
We focus a lot on what we have for ourselves, and not on what we have to share… We are a part of a beautiful community of urban growers who come together once a month to share their knowledge, their produce, their passions – for nothing. Everyone brings somethign to share and puts it on a communal table. If you have nothing this month, no dramas, come along any way. Everyone is welcome to take whatever they like home with them… seeds, seedlings, books, fresh eggs, home grown produce, magazines… the list goes on.
There is no competition, there is no mad rush for the table, there is no pushing or grabbing. We come together as a community, to share what we have… because as adults we are often (re)learning that the best things in life are shared.
Mother Theresa once said, ‘If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.’ Our community is a veritable melting pot of diversity, we are diverse not just in background and culture but in age and in experience too, and that’s what makes it so beautiful. It’s so easy to get caught up in what we have, or even more so in what we don’t (that others might have). It’s so easy to compare and to judge. It’s so easy to horde what is ours alone and forget the joy that comes from what is shared.
But if we just remember that our experiences are connected, our lives are connected… and we share what we have with each other, without expecting anything in return. We might just find the answer after all. We might just find peace.
Do you feel connected to the people in your community?