During the week Malaya and I have a routine. Right before it’s time for us to head out the door to school we always go through a checklist of must-haves. Malaya did you put your lunch in your backpack? Yes! Did you pack your homework? Yes! Did you put lotion on your face and arms? Nope! Go put some lotion on! Ok. Did you pack your jacket? Got it! So we head out hoping to make it to her school before the last bell rings! (15 minutes later) we made it with 5 minutes to spare! She kisses me goodbye and then runs off to line up with her classmates.
While the children are heading off to class I'm still on campus catching up with a fellow parent and guess who I see walking by with their class without a jacket? After a quick double take I say “Where is your jacket it’s cold today?” and she replies, “I let my friend borrow it because they were freezing!” (I won't say what I was actually thinking) I just responded with a tight-lipped stair! On one hand that was a sweet jester and a wonderful thing to do for a friend and on the other hand my sweet daughter is now cold.
On our drive home that evening we had a discussion about what happened with her jacket. I asked her why would she give a jacket to someone when she herself was cold and her feeling was that her friend said that she was freezing and she was only cold. So my next question for her was “what about you? ”I followed with letting her know how proud I was of her looking out for her friend but her friends are not her responsibility and that parents and teachers are in place to help when needed. I don't think she liked my comment but she said that she understood.
Depending on the type of child you have something as simple as sharing a jacket can be or lead to bigger problems and may be worth the discussion. To me, that jacket represented Malaya and her giving nature. It was a perfect example of how you can give of yourself because of a kind heart but by doing that you can leave yourself vulnerable and or without. It was not her sharing that was the issue it was her lack of self-consideration and not taking care of herself before she did for someone else. Knowing how I was a kid my mom would often tell me “never give what you can’t afford to lose” and those words have served me well and are good lessons for us all!