Birthdays are for Sharing, I suppose


birthday presents

Photo credit: Melinda Taber via / CC BY-NC-SA

The other day at work I had the opportunity to watch this video of Bronx Zoo gorillas enjoying cupcakes. It is not entirely clear whether it was a birthday. What amused me, though, was seeing the gorillas grabbing handfuls of cupcakes and refusing to share.

This got me thinking about sharing and birthdays. I’ve written in the past about how much I think it would suck to share my birthday with another person I loved. Or even liked. I might not like/love them so much after that. This pretty much sums it up (stupid typo aside):

At the same time, I know I’m not the only one who likes to see what celebrity shares my birthday. Somehow, by being born on the same day as Elizabeth Shue I am that much cooler on my birthday.

Yet, another way of looking at birthdays is what they teach people (who are bigger than me) about sharing. Kids, for instance, have to go to stores and find toys to give to someone else. They then have to actually hand said toys over to another child. (Parting is such un-sweet sorrow).

I thought I would share some other ways to teach about sharing, gleaned from Parents and WebMD:

  • Set a time limit on the sharing to make it more manageable (in a birthday context you may hold the balloon for 60 seconds and then your sister gets it).
  • Share with those in need. Have the child collect items from their closet, cupboard, toy bin to donate to charity.
  • Role play. OK, I was a theatre major. I could probably do this one.
  • Acknowledge positive behaviors. When your child does share notice it and commend him or her on a job well done. Too often we point out the negatives and don’t recognize the good the child does.
  • Set expectations in advance so as to prepare the child to share.
  • Lead by example. Parents. Yeah, yeah, like we don’t hear that one all of the time. Harrumph.

Yes, presumably I learned how to share better while writing that list. But let’s just stay away from my birthday date so we don’t have to find out.


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