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Sharing Matters

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The art of sharing is a very useful minimalist tool in any home. After all, why should every single member of a family own something when it can be shared? The Graeae, or sisters of the Gorgons, in Greek mythology took this art to its very extreme in their household.

Apparently, they shared one removable eye and one single tooth between the three of them! Even I will readily admit that these sisters might have been taking the minimalist lifestyle a stage too far, but having siblings definitely teaches you a few basic sharing skills from the get-go.

This is not going to be a manifesto about the fact that sisters and brothers are better at sharing, as that is far from a fundamental truth. I do, however, believe that having to go halves (or, in my case, quarters) with one’s parents’ attention from birth is an inevitable head start in the sharing race. For families with one child this skill will end up being mastered a bit later as there is simply no need to parent-pool, share a bath, split the biscuit in equal parts, or wait your turn to use the hairdryer (my sister and I were teenagers in the eighties!).

But sharing doesn’t have to be confined within the walls of our own home. We can choose to share with friends, neighbours or even perfect strangers. So far, our next door neighbours and we have been sharing a drill, a printer, a watering can and personal weighing scales. When living in the middle of a city with friendly people right next door, it simply doesn’t make sense for both to own some of these things.

Sharing does not even have to stop next door. There are plenty of websites (e.g. http://www.streetbank.com) and apps (e.g. http://www.peerby.com) that promote sharing things and skills with complete strangers living within a short distance of you. So you see, teaching our kids to share can have a wonderful ripple effect in the long run. It saves money. It is green. It builds community.

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