Thursday, February 23, 2012

Raising Socialists

Master Calvin was fussing and Princess Dragon Snack was crying.  Obviously, they needed some adult intervention, so I called them both downstairs, determined to get to the bottom of their squabble.  With tears streaming down her face, Princess Dragon Snack told a tale of woe.  Master  Calvin had kicked her - and he meant to do it!  Master Calvin was emphatically denying the charges leveled against him, claiming that Princess Dragon Snack had gotten kicked as she was trying to drag him out of her "Hugglepod".  Concerned that Princess Dragon Snack was not being kind and sharing with her brother, I asked for more clarification.  I was informed that Dragon Snack had been reading contentedly in her Hugglepod and, having finished her book, slipped out for a moment to retrieve another.  Master Calvin, seeing a moment of opportunity, commandeered the Hugglepod and resolutely refused to acquiesce his position.  It digressed from there.  Dragon Snack started yelling, Master Calvin became defensive and now the perpetrators were on trial in the living room.

Wanting nothing more than a quiet afternoon, my first thought was to require Princess Dragon Snack to give up her cozy spot and enforce mandated sharing.  And then, it hit me - in doing so, I would be grooming future Socialists to take what they wanted by force and coercion.  They would have no concept of personal property rights and would view all property as something to take at will or expect to be granted rights to just because they wanted it.  This, I could not have.

Personal property rights begin the moment someone has something to call their own.  They are the owner of it, the person responsible for its care and maintenance.  While sharing is an admirable character quality it cannot be forced.  People (even little people) have to choose how they want to share and with whom.  If I forced Miss  Calamity (12) to share her water color painting supplies with Master Calvin (4) she wouldn't have usable supplies for very long.  Master Calvin would pour water over them, ruin the brushes and generally wreak havoc.  Due to the fact that Miss Calamity owns her water color supplies, she has to have the final say as to who she will share with and when.  If we don't guard her personal property rights, she will be left with little or nothing of value. And it wouldn't just be her that was affected, it would be our whole family.  No longer would she paint beautiful pictures or spend afternoons teaching her little siblings the finer points of water colors.  No longer could she carry her paints to the woods and study the world around her by painting it. The simple act of not guarding her personal property rights would send ripples of untold consequences.

Yet another consequence emerges from not enforcing or encouraging property rights.  When children know that their things are not really their own, they will cease to take care of them.  Why should they?  They don't have any real authority over them and the energy used to care for them would be counterproductive.

This is the world in which we live.  We have trained our children to "share" (whether it is appropriate or  not) and can't figure out why our society is hallmarked by an "entitlement mentality".  It begins with "we the parents".  It is essential that we teach our children the importance of personal property and the rewards of working for and earning our property.  As parents, it is our somber duty to guard our children's personal property rights, just as our government has been charged with ensuring ours.  We are the very foundation of the free world.

After considerable deliberation, I rendered my decision in the Princess Dragon Snack vs. Master Calvin case.  I ruled for Princess Dragon Snack.  I encouraged her to invite her brother to use her Hugglepod when she was finished with it (provided that he wasn't fussing or crying at her about it) and I instructed him to find something else to play.  Confident that her personal property rights were completely intact, Princess Dragon Snack chose to invite her brother into her Hugglepod with her and they spent the afternoon reading together happily.  Case dismissed.

I don't want to raise Socialists.  I want to raise contented children who strive to make their own way in the world and respect the rights of others in the process.  I want them to take responsibility for themselves and care for others as they would like to be cared for.

We are not a collective.  God made man to be individual.  We come to Him on a personal level, one by one.  We cannot stand before the throne of God and use someone else's salvation.  This is something Socialists do not understand.

When we encourage everything in our children's lives to be communal, we are setting them up for failure.  We are stealing their ability for happiness and contentment.  We are stealing their joy.  We are raising Socialists.


  1. Excellent reminder. I need to be careful to avoid this pitfall.

  2. I second the Amen! The other thing socialists don't understand is free will. God gave us free will, and the god of this world would like nothing more than to take it away. I applaud how you handled this situation.

  3. THANK YOU. I have HATED the whole "you need to share" thing since day one, but I've never been able to really put it into words.

  4. You have given me something to think about very carefully.

  5. Oh my goodness! I have not looked at this situation like this before. But I will in the future. Thank you!

  6. Wonderful! I feel so much better knowing that there are people out there who "get" it. Your children are blessed.

  7. Sharing is done willingly, or it isn't sharing. Community is a group of people willing to live together peacefully,agreeing to a set of rules(which can be challenged, if need be. No such thing as a perfect system,and rules need to be challeneged every so often)set up by those people. Here locally, for a while, schools had a "community pile" for school supplies-a major headache for teachers. Each student brought in a certain amount for the pile-in theory. Generally, what happened is what my cousin did-she bought good stuff that her son kept hid in his backpack, and cheap, freebie crap went into the pile. So what does that teach? It failed miserably,and was quickly discontinued.
    You still can't fight back against the bully! You can't even call him names! What good is having a bully if you can't insult him(and the family that produced him), or bust his head if need be? Again, what does this teach? I'm glad I'm not in school now..

  8. I agree with you in all you said and wanted to add something that bothers me...volunteering. I love volunteering and I want my children to volunteer but to force children to 'volunteer' for their grades in school or whatever the reason is no longer volunteering! It is not done with a generous spirit or is forced. I am sure alot of kids don't mind it but by requiring it you have taken the whole meaning of volunteering away and in my opinion, the enjoyment. Anyway,...excellent post.

  9. A good point to consider. It was distracting though to read "where" for "were" and "it begins with we" for "it begins with us". You may be in a hurry, but it only takes a little time to proofread and prevent sounding ignorant.

    1. Please, take your own advice and proofread your own post. There are more polite ways of letting an author know of their error or errors. Yes, it does only take a moment to proofread and avoid making a mistake, however, it does not make her "sound ignorant", it just shows that she made a mistake. How many times have we read over something only to have our brain "auto correct" an error, then after posting, the error jumps out at you? I know it has happened to me and to others as well, as some have immediately posted a correction.
      By the way, excellent post as usual Enola.

    2. yes, anon.12:45 needs to consider the point and develop some tact while considering the point.

    3. Anonymous 12:45 post, Oh my, Enola is human!!

  10. I was reading a book about sharing to my kids recently. It showed one of the characters crying because she wanted a toy another character had been playing with. The second one handed over the toy then stood around doing nothing.

    I had to go back over that part of the book and explain that crying is not a nice way to get a toy. That the second child should not have had to give the toy away just because the other decided she wanted it.

    Until I read this post I thought I was the only mom who would interpret forced sharing that way. Thanks for putting 'property rights' back into my vocabulary!

    When we have playdates here, my children can each put away a special toy of their choice that they do not want to share. All the other toys are fair game. Most of the time they choose to leave them all out.

  11. It's funny anonymous, how my brain didn't pick up on any grammatical errors while reading the post. It just simply corrected the mistakes and went on with absorbing the intended message. I guess we all can't be english majors. Thank God!!

  12. Funny how I didn't notice any errors when I read the post. My brain just corrected the errors while I was busy absorbing the intended message. We all can't be english majors. Thank God!! Why do people have to make themselves feel important by pointing out insignificant things others do?
    Thank You for the post. I have to be careful not to fall into that trap also.

  13. Sorry about the double post. We all can't be computer literate either. :)

  14. Oh wow. I make my oldest give up stuff all the time to the youngest. Yet I can't for the life figure out why she cares nothing for the things she has. Bingo. Wonderful post as always.

  15. Responsibility without Authority.
    Now You can see why the last two generations have become materialistic.
    The need for "stuff" will never be requited, IF, you do not allow a person to actually "own" it.

    great insight and posting Enola.

    So, Why work for someone else? if you can't keep and own the labors of your work?

    We've created and allowed a feudal society due to our increases in taxation and expanding governmental "rights" for them to be able to take whatever they deem they "need" from us. Our money, our land, our food sources....
    next ...our guns.

  16. Enola, I have always had a problem with enforced sharing for children. When my 17 year old was about 3 years old, we lived in a place with a public swimming pool. I would take her to swim every day where she would meet other small children. At some point the children's parents would tell their children to share their toys with another child. I would always point out that while we tell our children to share, we as adults don't "share" our stuff. I don't share my car, bike or any other possession with people I have just met or people I don't trust or respect. Certainly having someone tell me to share is not the answer either. It is a personal choice based on trust and affection, and should not me mandated from anything other than our inner heart.

  17. Thank you for this insightful post. It's very encouraging. I've seen the look of astonishment on my daughter's face when a playmate will come over and start yanking toys out of her hand only to hear me say, "just share honey". After awhile this got old and I started questioning the sharing at any cost mentality that society expects from me as a parent.

    We raise our daughter to appreciate her toys and to not be so rough on them but I have found that this isn't taught in other homes and found that by making her share led to her toys being destroyed by unruly playmates. After a couple of times of this my 3 yr. old quickly figured out this sharing everything wasn't a good idea and started putting away some of her "nicer" toys when friends came over. I realized that other children didn't have the "right" to play with her toys and it's okay for my little one to be discerning about her property.

  18. Thank you for this post! You have just made clear to me a problem I couldn't pin my finger on. When my two children start fighting over a toy, my usual reaction is to discipline the child who is crying and whining, but then I also ask my other child (who is not sharing) to share with his sibling. I wasn't completely convinced I was resolving the problem. Now I think I understand better. The next time, I will secure the property rights of the child with the toy and discipline the whining child. I don't want my kids to think that they can get something by taking it by force.

  19. Are you brain damaged or something

  20. I am the oldest of 3 children and the only girl. We were raised in the 60's.
    I was not allowed into my brothers bedrooms without nocking on their doors. And
    they were not allowed either into my room. And never was I allow to touched my
    brothers stero.
    Think about what that teaches. Thou shalt not steal.If I am not allow to walk
    into a room and take something or touch something, than we will be less likely
    to do it as adults.

  21. We had our kids in an expensive "downtown" daycare (ok, this was years ago, my daughters are in their 20s now..)

    I can in to pick one of them up and asked the usual "how did the day go" and the teacher said "We she didn't what to share her (stuffed animal) today" Without missing a beat I said "That's ok. I don't always like to share either. If she feels like it she will, otherwise leave her alone."

    Oddly, that seemed to shock them.

    It never occurred to me until this post that they were expecting socialist behavior.



  22. This really makes me think about how I am teaching my preschoolers. Sometimes one child will go so far as to not only "not share", but taunt the other child. We are also in a situation where the elder child received many gifts as a baby/toddler that, due to familial losses, the younger will never receive. Sometimes just remembering which toy is "yours mine or ours" is very tough! We generally just enforce the rule that any toy that causes fights goes into time-out. But of course this does not always produce a good outcome either. Thank you for bringing this up so my husband and I can work on it together.

  23. Excellent. I remember doing the forced sharing thing when my kids were very small. I was never quite comfortable with it, though, in spite of the fact that I was made to share when I was young.

    I slowly crept over to the private property side of things, but never really had a good handle on why it was right.

    Thank you.