Teaching Kids to Share

The gift on my desk

The gift on my desk


Children must be taught to share. Children of all ages, from infancy through high school. That’s one of the things we do at the Humanity Project — helping kids to help kids by working with them to share their talents and knowledge with peers. We do this by helping them create programs that curb distracted driving, reduce bullying and ease social isolation. We help kids to help kids by teaching them to share.

Sharing is an important lesson for us all to teach. I think about it often. On my desk sits a small bronze figure of Buddha, representing to me the many wise lessons imparted to the world by this insightful man. But it also means something else: friendship. The inexpensive figurine was handed to me spontaneously by a woman at a shop along the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok, Thailand. The sales clerk did this as a kindness, I believe, a gesture of good will between us. I already had bought several masks and other art pieces at her store and paid for them. She had nothing to gain except my smile.

As I dusted the Buddha during my weekly housecleaning one day, this thought occurred to me: the gift was given with no knowledge of how I would receive it. I might just as easily have seen this as worthless junk and tossed it in the nearest trash can. Or I might have put it in some jewelry box when I returned home and never glanced at it again. Or. Or … yes, I might have looked at this small gift in the way I do, as an object I genuinely appreciate and use to enhance my life. That thought led me to another. Isn’t the same true of our own gifts, the talent and experience and enthusiasm we can share with others? All we can do is to give these, with no knowledge of how they will be received. Just like the Buddha from my friend in Bangkok. We only have the power to hand out our individual treasures to the world. What the world does with them is entirely up to others to decide. That’s a lesson worth sharing with the kids in our life.