Sharing. Fairness. They are a cornerstone of parenting, childhood, and a current political debate. As parents, we begin to instill in our children the all-important concept of sharing at a very early age. And as soon as they can speak, children will soon declare that no matter what you decide, no matter how things are split up, it's not fair. That they are somehow being wronged. To me, that is essentially the cornerstone of the political argument over whether some people pay their "fair share" of taxes. If you ask me, the politicians who spew that talking point sound like whiney children too.
Often, I try my hardest to sweep as many butterflies as I can into my net in that frantic two minutes. Why should I try any less just because my five year-old daughter wants to win? I want to win too. I also use this as an opportunity to teach Peanut how to lose. Like her dad, she is not a very good loser. So I feel she needs to lose more and cry less when she does it.
Once, after a particularly well-fought round of Elefun in which Peanut was not victorious, My Director decided to appease a whimpering Peanut by sharing some of her butterflies with her. It annoyed me. Our exchange went something like this:
"She has to learn how to lose. And how to lose gracefully."
"I'm teaching her about sharing."
"That's not sharing. That's giving a handout to a someone who didn't earn it."
In a gesture of goodwill, Peanut decided to even out their two piles. That's sharing. Doing it because you want to, out of love and kindness and understanding. Not because you have to. Then again, Peanut wouldn't have done it had My Director not set the example the night before. Maybe we're both right.
Either way, charity begins at home.
Candy Land also provides a valuable life lesson, as I wrote about here.