When my kids were little, it was common to observe other parents telling their children they must share their toys with other children. Without a doubt, parents who do this have good intentions. They want their children to be kind and generous.
I think the practice has the opposite result on an individual level, and I believe it has contributed to disastrous and unforeseen consequences in our culture as a whole.
When I mentioned this to my wife, she told me that when she was a child, her parents made her share her toys with her cousins when they visited. This resulted in the heads of all of her dolls being popped off by one particular male cousin. She desperately wanted to hide her dolls before the cousins arrived. But instead, her private property was destroyed.
When we started having kids, I taught them about the importance of private property. I let them know they owned their toys and had full control to either share or not share. I told them it was perfectly ok to protect their property from someone who might destroy it. Furthermore, I made sure they knew they did not need a reason to not share.
I also taught them to consider the downside of not sharing. I said that if they consistently made the choice not to share, they might expect the same treatment when they visited other kids’ homes. The result was that my kids almost invariably chose to share. The difference was that my kids were actually choosing to share as opposed to being forced to share—which, let’s be honest, is not sharing. It is socialism.
Although I didn’t realize it fully at the time, my children were learning several important lessons. They learned they had real rights and a real choice. By learning they had the right to protect their own things, they learned the value and importance of treating others’ private property with respect. After all, if you destroy a friend’s toy, that friend will be less likely to share in the future.
Most importantly, my kids learned that socialism is unfair and awful and that a free people with free will operating in a free market with private property rights is the only moral system. I taught my kids that our system is not perfect, but it is better by a long shot than every other system.
I am proud of the concept of private property and taught my children to be proud of it, too, because it is good for individuals and society. Everyone is better off when private property is respected and valued. Conversely, everyone is worse off when private property rights are discounted or altogether disallowed.
To be clear, I do not believe the practice of forcing kids to “share” their toys is the only reason our society is sliding towards socialism. I am saying the things we teach our children and the things we allow our children to be taught by others have serious consequences because beliefs turn into actions, and culture eventually turns into law.
The sad reality is that your kids are being influenced by the propaganda machine of the socialists, and they will continue to be influenced. It is up to you to be the stronger and louder voice.
Finally, let me just say that good intentions aren’t enough; we must teach our children good morals and explain why they are better than humanist and socialist values.
This is a commentary republished with the author’s permission. If you wish to submit a commentary to Texas Scorecard, please submit your article to firstname.lastname@example.org.