It was said in a stage whisper, so that I could hear it but also so the little boy’s caregiver could hear it. I understood her reasoning. He had mounds of clay, a mountain of it, that he was pinching and patting into place.
“Oh!” I said brightly “Luckily I have plenty!” and I pulled out more clay and piled it on the table.
I could see what she saw, one child monopolizing a large chunk of the materials. But, what she hadn’t seen was that this little boy had been at my last workshop and had gravitated to the clay with delight. When he saw it out again this time he ran for it like it was an old friend. She hadn’t seen that he had lovingly shaped and tweaked his design for almost 45 minutes, totally absorbed and not seeking approval or praise for his design.
What she also may not realize is that I can’t “make” him share. Certainly, if there wasn’t enough materials to go around I’d have to take some of his for other kids. But that wouldn’t be him sharing, that would be me taking it. For it to be real sharing he would have to make the decision to give up some of the clay.
Sharing, real, true sharing, is such a difficult lesson for kids to learn. Luckily, for that day there was enough clay to go around and I could leave him to his creations.