As a kindergarten teacher, I encounter a lot of questions, concerns and sometimes, complaints, from the parents of the kids in my class. Most of these are reasonable and just and I always find myself agreeing with them… they are THE parents anyway, they should know more than I do when it comes to bringing up their children. However, there was once instance I could not bring myself to “understand” their point, no matter how hard I tried.
It started out as a regular weekday afternoon. I just finished 2 wonderful hours of singing and dancing and fooling around with my boisterous class of thirty 5-year-olds. A parent then approached me and asked me to do one thing for her: teach her child not to share. I was surprised, astounded in fact, and I curiously asked her why. According to her, every afternoon, she should ask her daughter how school was and the daughter would always tell her how she had a great time coloring with her seatmate using the crayons daddy got her last week or how she gave half her cookies to the girl she played with during snack time. I patiently explained that as a kindergarten teacher working in a Christian school, it is part of my job to teach the learners basic core values like telling the truth, working hard, helping others, and of course, sharing what you have to those in need. She answered me straight – you can teach her everything you want but don’t teach her to share.
The next day, I talked to my fellow kindergarten teachers about what happened and about the value of sharing. Since we all have different family backgrounds and upbringings, it was expected that we would also have different perspectives about it. Some of us regard it as essential, while others seem to give it less significance. However, we all agreed on one thing: teaching children to share is more than just simple value integration, it is in itself a moral dilemma.