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It is nice to be the one to rub 
the shiny off your own
brand new toys.
It is nice to be the one to rub
the shiny off your own
brand new toys.


364 words

Give Permission Not To Share
by Dianne Roth


For Christmas, my oldest son presented me with a Craftsman 58 piece tool kit with ratchet, standard and metric sockets, wrenches, and 4 piece driver set. Until now, my socket sets were bought for $5.00, and began wearing out as they were scanned by the checker. I am delighted.

This gift came with something else. As I opened my present, my son said, “Mom, you do not have to share these with anyone!” My mind leapt to the image of needing a tool and knowing exactly where it was. No more looking for a screwdriver every time I needed it.

Will I share them? Well, yes, I probably will. But, for now, I enjoy knowing they are all mine and that I do not have to share.

Over the years, I gave my children permission to not share. I wanted them to become caring, sharing, turn-taking people. I just thought it would be easier to learn to share the toys that were old and comfortable. New toys still have the sparkle and shine on them and I thought they should be able to wear it off themselves. What is the fun of getting new things if someone else gets to rub the shiny off?

During birthday parties or on Christmas afternoon, they could decide if the new toys were for sharing. The catch (and you know there is always a catch) was that the non-sharable was kept from harm up on a shelf. If you are not ready to share, you should probably keep it for when you are playing alone. At birthdays, I thought the birthday person should get first crack at the new things so I always ran interference during play time.

Did my children become selfish and keep all their toys out of reach of the neighborhood hordes? No. They were generous and knew how to take turns. They were not perfect, but they both seemed at ease with sharing from a young age. I think, perhaps, it was because they had some say over the really special things they wanted to play with first.

Now, aren’t there some nuts and bolts that I can tighten with my shiny new tools?


Dianne Roth is a teacher, mother, grandmother, and freelance writer. She lives in Oregon.




Last updated on October 8, 2012