Every so often, I realise just how difficult it is to bring children up. Of course, there are all the financial aspects of parenting, and the tension of finding a school, monitoring TV, internet, books… The list of things parents do for children is simply endless.
Recently, I was introduced to another side of parenting.
A friend of mine, a young mother with a five-year-old son, was teaching her child an important lesson in sharing. The little one, with his perpetually happy glowing face, offered us a single chip each. His mother corrected him, telling him that it’s normal to offer the packet, and let us take however much we wanted.
The little boy was sceptical about the plan, but he offered us the packet the next time around. We were happy with the improvement, and said our polite “No, thank you!”
This much was part of normal parenting for me. The third round was the most wonderful, though. The child offered us chips from his packet, as usual. Before we could refuse, the mother hastily told us, “Please take, please!”
Puzzled, we looked questioningly at her.
She shook her head, a little helplessly. “No one ever takes any, so he feels ‘sharing’ means offering, but that’s the end of it! That day, he offered some chocolate to my husband’s friend, and that gentleman took some. My son turned to me angrily and said ‘That uncle took mine!'”
Meekly, we took one chip each from his packet, while his mother watched him to see if he would protest.