Why Teach Our Children to Share if We Ourselves Believe It’s Wrong?

Okay, I’ll admit that my title is a bit sarcastic and snarky. But this is honestly a question I’ve been reflecting on recently. . .

Why do we teach our children to share if we, as adults, fundamentally believe that it’s wrong — some even believe it’s immoral — to share with other adults?

Or in practice,

Why do we teach our children to share if we ourselves hardly ever share with others?

Let me up the ante here: I’m talking about wealth.

A dangerous, every-person-for-himself ideology seems to growing. It’s certainly not new, but it’s gaining even greater influence. This ideology thrives on greed and justifies itself through a mix of pride, individualism, Ayn Rand objectivism, and prosperity theology purporting to be Christian. Then it claims to be morally superior.

After all, no matter how vulnerable a person may be (ahem, including from structures built on this ideology) it would be immoral to help or share from our wealth because that would decrease self-reliance, and we choose not to share, you know, for the good of the other person.

Um… okay. Your greed is showing.

Want to know how far some will take this ideology? Some have argued that schools should stop providing free lunches to impoverished students in order to teach self-reliance and grit. Why not just take it to the next step then and stop providing food to all children entirely?

Oh, that’s right. You only meant those children.

Sure, there is certainly such a thing as toxic charity, and we should avoid that. But make no mistake: We can share from our wealth. If we did this, we could create an economy and society of care and wellbeing that upholds all and leaves no one behind. We could eliminate poverty. We could make sure that children and vulnerable adults do not die of preventable diseases.

Think this is a pipe dream? It’s not.

But it requires sharing our wealth willfully and with purpose. I’m not only talking about the 1% (though I certainly am). I’m talking about people like me. I’m talking about people who read this blog. I’m choosing to challenge myself with this. I’m choosing to challenge you with this.

Why do we accept a dog-eat-dog society as normative and good? Everyone benefits when all people have what they need. Are there areas of our lives where we have much more than we need? Let’s find the most effective ways to share that wealth.

Renee Roederer

 

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