Sharing is the norm in big families - and at least in our family on a daily level, this sharing is more of a logistical necessity than a virtue. The virtue does get in there somehow and inevitably there ends up being very little friction with most of the give and take. There are certain sacred objects for each child which are set apart from the rest of creation. These do not have to be routinely shared. These items used to be "lovies" in the soft, shaggy forms of lions and horses and bears and are now "lovies" in the small, hard forms of iPods and cell phones and memory cards. The "lovies" do (on very special occasions and with lots of rules for their use and care) have to be shared - but it is never easy. All that practice with sharing everyday things just doesn't seem to make it easier for the kids to let go of their precious things. They hide their reluctance and worry well, but I see it.
And what can I say? My "lovies" are now in the achingly beautiful forms of teen, tween, and big kid bodies. I am required (by law) to share them on special occasions - like winter break. They are precious to me and I am terrified that the someone(s) I have to share them with will not take good enough care of them. What if they are returned damaged? What if they are not returned?? I try desperately to hide my reluctance and worry but I am afraid my children see it.
I am tempted to beat myself up for not being able to provide them a better model. But maybe the lesson they're learning is that letting go with love is important and possible even if it only gets harder as you grow up.