We think teaching our kids to share teaches them generosity, but it doesn’t. It teaches them that nothing they have is actually theirs, and that anything can be taken from them at any time, and that nobody has to wait for anything and anybody can get whatever they want just by demanding it, unless they’re the person who had it first or who actually owns it.
Books about sharing compound the problem by being horseshit. FOR EXAMPLE:
The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein
I think we can all appreciate what a piece of enablist bullshit this is right here. I am not going to expound on The Giving Tree because we are all People With Brains.
That’s not even close to what sharing is.
The Rainbow Fish – Marcus Pfister
Oh man, this book has LAYERS. Here I am, trying to teach my daughters that they don’t owe anybody pretty, that nobody gets to tell them to smile more, and the rainbow fish has to give everyone his beautiful rainbow scales before they will like him. HE LITERALLY HAS TO GIVE THEM HIS LITERAL PRETTY because they don’t have it, and they are sad.
Here’s your smile more, other fish.
You don’t owe shit to anybody, you can be the prettiest fucking fish in the ocean if you want to or have an anglerfish day ERRRRRRday and nobody can say shit to you. You don’t have to give them what they want just because they want it.
Share – Sally Anne Garland
This is a complete and exact portrait of how sharing sucks. Rabbit’s younger cousin comes to her house and her mom keeps being like, Please let him share, when she really means, Give him that bear you love, let him yank on the necklace you just put on until it breaks, let him scribble on the picture you’re working so hard on, let him have your snack. “All that he wants is to be just like you./That’s why he copies whatever you do!” That’s why it’s ok if he ruins it, tooooooo! Little kids should be allowed to run riot and fuck shit up because they’re LITTLE and they WANT TO.
THIS IS ALSO NOT WHAT SHARING LOOKS LIKE, OK.
Oh Bother! Someone Won’t Share! – Betty Birney, Nancy Stevenson
I love the Oh Bother books, but this is some communist bullshit right here. And I live in Canada! We are a bunch of pinkos! But ok, the Hundred Acre Hooligans are like, Why won’t you share your garden produce with us, Rabbit? And Rabbit is like, I need all these things I planted so that I can make it through the winter without literally dying. And they’re like, IT’S SO UNKIND OF YOU NOT TO SHARE YOUR PRODUCE, RABBIT, I WANTED TO MAKE CARROT MUFFINS BUT FAILED TO ADEQUATELY PREPARE AND NOW I CANNOT MAKE MY MUFFINS, RABBIT, WHY WON’T YOU GIVE ME SOME OF YOUR CARROTS and he’s like, Literally gonna die, though.
In the end, he shares his produce, so I guess come like January he literally dies, I dunno. His funeral will be super well-attended, probably.
Llama Llama Time to Share – Anna Dewdney
JKJKJKKJK EVERY LLAMA LLAMA BOOK IS PERFECT I WILL DEFEND THEM WITH MY DYING BREATH.
(For an excellent grown-up-person read about alternatives to sharing [i.e. waiting your fucking turn], check out It’s OK Not to Share by Heather Shumaker.)