In Praise of Adult Sharing: We Should Be Better At It By Now

May 04, 2017 3 min read

Last year, I shared this post of AWESOME tips from my friend C on how to host & entertain well throughout this busy season. There are practical tips, as well as a general mentality on how to host people so that they really feel cared for; entertaining not for the sake of looking good or putting on a show, but serving the ones we love.

One of the tips she shared was that long ago she bought a set of plain, white dishes that they use for hosting events. Great idea, but many of the comments afterwards referred to the extra space it would take, the extra stuff to manage, etc.

Minimalism is the new black (perhaps a cultural response to our over-stuffed lives), so the concept of hoarding extra, occasional items may be frowned upon. It’s very un-KonMarie.

May I suggest an age-old solution that we learned way back in kindergarten?

Sharing.

It seems like something we should be good at by now. We want kids to learn to share, and in fact we DELIGHT to see children working together or trading toys back & forth. There’s always plenty to go around, after all, and it would seem strange for children to sit each in their own corners of a playroom with their own set of the same toys.

However, when it’s me, I am MORE THAN HAPPY for that to be my reality!

I don’t want to go and borrow my neighbor’s ladder “all the time” (or is it the two times per year that I use one?). I’ve got to go over to there, when they are home, arrange for a timeline (how long will it take me?! I don’t know! The pressure!)

And shouldn’t I just own my own ladder? I’m sure that future issues will arise that will require a ladder; it seems like something that is a mark of being a responsible, grown-up homeowner: ladder ownership.



Sharing possessions, as adults, feels so… inconvenient. It feels dependent. And independence & convenience are two qualities that we value extremely highly in our culture.

I’ve resisted borrowing goods because it feels like I’m too cheap or too lazy to get my own; I’ve bought seldom-used tools or kitchen gadgets simply because I’m embarrassed by how it looks if I “keep” asking someone else.

A turning point came for me when I met a neighbor of ours with a backyard pool. He saw us in the sprinkler one day and said, “I have a pool! Come use it whenever I am home!” It took me about 2 years to take him up on the offer, but once I did, it was fantastic! My fear of feeling imposing (“Oh, we should just pay to use the community public pool”) was slowly overcome by 1) our neighbor’s easygoing generosity 2) the convenience — the pool is 6 houses away 3) the free-ness of it all: it only cost me making them one pie! (and, in fact, I often went home with lettuce & other spoils of their garden!)


Pride can be such an unhelpful companion, and I realized that by hiding behind my pride & fear, I was missing out on so much:

  • Opportunity to connect with & enjoy others in my community or life
  • The pleasure that others get from sharing in their abundance, and that I enjoy in turn when I can share what I have
  • Saving both money & space when I don’t need to personally own everything
  • Gaining humility of asking for help

I can admit, at this point I may have swung to the far opposite end of the spectrum, as I’ve now borrowed everything from rakes to limes to coffee urns from my neighbors & family! But, though I joke about being the needy neighbor, I think that more than anything, it bonds us. It certainly provides me with more excuses to pop by and check in with how they are doing, or what is happening in their lives.

 

The most embarrassing thing I've ever borrowed is an artificial Christmas tree (to use as a prop for photographs of our holiday kantha quilts). Have you ever borrowed or lent something completely strange or surprising? Share in the comments below!


Leave a comment


Also in Shop Good Blog

The Slow, Complex Work of Saving Children

September 18, 2020 3 min read 3 Comments

(Photo courtesy of Friends of Basha)

Reflections from my experience visiting a Brothel in Bangladesh

As impossible as it is for me to believe now, earlier in 2020 I flew around the world. The primary objective was to visit Bangladesh and see, in person, the life-changing work in which dignify has had the privilege to participate over these past 8 years.

Read More
Time Out on New Input!

July 30, 2020 3 min read 2 Comments

A friend recently asked on Facebook for “the most challenging and enlightening resource you have read/watched about the problem of racism in America”. This question received numerous responses within the day: half a dozen films, dozens of books, podcasts, courses, and other hubs of information resources (as well as the astute reply, “Conversation”, which is, of course, the most relational and human of “resources”).

I think that this experience was shared by most people in early June (as protests & concerns over racial injustice had reached a critical volume): so many resources, so much to learn.

But now, 2 months later… what have we done with the magnitude of worthy, fascinating, perspective-altering information & insights that have been brought to our attention? 

And this it only in the area racial injustice. In other interests & concerns: How much do we know? How much have we learned & read & listened to already?

Read More
How to Live Generously

July 24, 2020 4 min read 1 Comment


Approximately 25 years ago (in March 2020), we did a customer/reader survey. I asked what you like to read on the blog & one of the respondents suggested a post on "living generously". What a fabulous idea and perfect for this time in history!


[The title of this post implies some kind of authority or expertise — ha! Nope, no experts here... just some thoughts on generosity from a fellow human, trying to make my way!]

Read More