14th March 2012

How do we learn to share?

Often the people who ask are concerned about helping their children learn to share. Is sharing something that we need to learn? If so, from whom?

Someone once said, while asking for contributions to a charity, that when you give, it is a way of saying, that you have enough.

In a world where one is continuously being sold the message that one does not have enough, it can take some effort to remember and acknowledge that we actually do.


Very true and yet very hard concepts to get, for me. In my mind, I completely agree that food must be shared, one must not eat alone … but I often eat alone. I am happy to “share” in that when people come to the door and ask for food I give it to them, or contribute in other ways. I am happy to do it, but if no one “needed” my help in getting food, I would not necessarily have that feeling that “my stomach will hurt if I eat alone.”

We are reading more and more – or at least I who have lost touch with the social and cultural aspect of eating, am reading more and more about the value of eating with others. Food habits are changing so much in this generation, I hope that those who haven’t yet lost the habit of eating as a family, sharing food, etc, value these and keep them alive so the next generation can feel it in their hearts and not only in their minds. In closing, I wish to share something I heard from an elderly woman in a village in AP, when someone was commenting on the way she fed any and all who came to her. There is nothing remarkable in this, she insisted. “The food is not me, or mine. The food is Krishna. It is Krishna who gives and Krishna who receives it. Where am I in all this?”

One might say that this woman could afford to feed everyone. She wasn’t particularly rich, but it was not her wealth that generated this attitude.

Two young people who tried living at the poverty line of Rs. 26 / day wrote about “generosity we got from people who live on the other side, despite their tough lives. ”

(See more at http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/columns/Harsh_Mander/article2882340.ece)

I too have experienced the insistent generosity of the poor, seemingly oblivious to the concept of food scarcity. Even among those whom we only know because their community was in the news for poverty and hunger, as Somnath describes in his article, “Eating in Amlashole” When they offer him more food, they insist,

“We have plenty”


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