Why we share.


Is there a more uttered phrase from parenthood than “we share!”? Probably not in my household.

From before my children were able to crawl, right up to current day where they can’t sit still, “we share” is echoed from every corner of my house reverberating until it interrupts every new argument, sometimes before it even begins. It only took a few months of speaking before my children asked the obvious question to this statement. Why? Why do we share?

We share because it is the kind thing to do. We share because everyone has more fun when they get a turn. We share because there are valuable lessons to be learned in sharing.

On election night I sat like many of you, hunched over a bowl of candy in a state of disgust. Concerned for our country, for my state, and mostly for my children. High on sugar and adrenaline I told my husband I had formulated a plan that would solve the country’s divisive politics. “Why don’t we have “opt in” politics, where if you are a Democrat you opt in to their decisions and if you are a Republican you can opt in to theirs? Democrats could use their money on education and medicaid, Republicans can use their money on guns and tax breaks.” (Apologies to my Republican friends. I was feeling extra snarky because of excess sugar.)

I ran with the idea. In my head there was this ideal world where everyone got what they wanted. There was no more fighting, no more campaign ads, and no more candy raids on election night. I started writing the idea in my head as if it were a book. It quickly went from a fairy tale to a horrible dystopian when nobody paid for the roads to be kept up, the emergency responders were unfunded, and the waste water treatment center was abandoned. The political parties started fighting, there was nobody to stop them, and only one side had guns.

OK, back to the drawing board for political solutions.

I woke up the day after elections a little glum. And not just because my brilliant idea has proven to be a disaster. I didn’t like the changes that were made to our government.

But my own words have been ringing in my head since that morning. The same words that I repeat at least five times a day to my children. The words that were missing from my great plan the night before.

We share.

We share because it is the kind thing to do. We share because everyone has more fun when they get a turn. We share because there are valuable lessons to be learned in sharing. 

Now my own state probably has the same question that my six year has when I tell her that she has to share. “What if they don’t share back?”

They will. Give them a little time. Eventually they will realize it is better for everyone when we share. And if they don’t, nobody is going to want to play with them anymore.

So if you are left feeling bitter after Election Day 2014, know that we’ll have a turn again. Maybe we’ll even learn something in the meantime.

That’s why we share.

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