Why I’ve banned ‘sharing is caring’ from my classes (and my home!)
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We’re all doing our best with our 1 or 2 or 3 or more children.
I’m lucky enough to be doing my best with hundreds of children. Doing my best for them, in the short space of time I have to inspire them every week.
And here’s what I know about children: they’re eager to please, but if there’s a way to work the system, they’re onto it!
Which is why when I see a child grab a toy out of someone else’s hand in the name of ‘sharing is caring’, or tell their friend they’re not coming to their party unless they give up what they’re playing with, it makes me wonder what we’re really teaching them with this silly little rule we’ve put in place to make ourselves feel better about the whole sharing issue.
If I walked up to a friend and demanded that they get out of their car and let me use it for as long as I feel like it, or to hand over their new smartphone, or give me the best part of their lunch, and then threatened to end the friendship or at least have a tantrum if they wouldn’t, I would definitely be friendless!
But this sort of thing happens in our children’s lives every day, and desperate to keep the peace, we allow the little person who has every right to hold onto what they’re busy doing or using to be manipulated into giving it up because ‘sharing is caring’. Wouldn’t it be better to teach both children that respecting each other’s property, boundaries and right to finish their game is the ultimate way to care for each other? As in, let someone know you’d like a turn, and then wait your turn. AND, if someone asks for a turn, finish your game and then remember to hand over to the next in line.
Sometimes children in my classes cry because they don’t get their own way. Sometimes they’re incensed at the injustice of not being able to cry ‘sharing is caring’ and take what they want! But any crying is short-lived as they’re desperate to join in on the fun again, and I know that they’re a little more wise and a little more secure, because they know where they stand with me. They know that at Fit Kids, we respect each other, we learn about our bodies and what they’re capable of doing, and we learn that every other kid in the class has just as much right to respect as they do.
I like to think that small lesson of respect is a valuable life lesson that every child will take away from Fit Kids with them.
I'm a dad, a teacher and a business owner, doing my best to make every day count. I'm determined to shape the way the next generation feel about exercise, and I'm doing this by showing children the difference between enjoying exercise as part of healthy lifestyle, and participating in exercise as a means to perform in sport. I'm also helping parents learn how to include exercise as a normal part of daily life, and working with schools and teachers to change the way they present exercise to children in the foundation years.