I am in love with the fact that we have kids on our street finally! That plus the amazing weather meant that tonight my kids were able to ride bikes, scooters, and skates out in the street with the neighbor and their cousins. Our kids have scooters, bikes and skates and the neighbor kids had bikes with a few scooters but not enough for all of the kids to have their own so we shared our scooters with them and they played for a little over an hour with the neighbor kids all sharing and having a great time. Well as it is starting to get dark, we are getting ready to go inside and the neighbor kids said that they were going to go to the park and wanted to borrow M's scooter to take to the park. At first I told them no, but then I thought well why not, we aren't using it so why not let M decide what to do.
I called M over and told her that they wanted to borrow her scooter to go to the park and that we weren't using it so it was up to her as to whether or not they could borrow it. She said no and when I asked her why she became very emotional. She ultimately told me it was because she was worried that they wouldn't give it back and she was worried that the "new girl" (it was a cousin we hadn't met yet) would just take it home. I told her that if the girl took her home we would talk to the parents and get it back and that I trusted them to bring it back, but I was o.k. with her decision either way because it is her scooter and I didn't want her to have a bad night's sleep because she felt like she had to lend it to them even though she didn't want to. She was extremely stressed about it and kept going back and forth on what she wanted to do. After a while my hubby came out and I had M talk to him about it as well. He said the same thing I did and I think having her hear it from both parents helped her to feel more secure in her decision to lend them the scooter. She took the scooter over to the girl and said she could borrow it, but that she needed to give it back.
As I was watching my daughter struggle with making this decision I realized the value in teaching her the value of lending things to those in need, this little girl wouldn't have a bike or scooter to ride while all of her cousins did, especially when we are able to lend things. My kids are spoiled in the sense that they have a lot of nice things, but we have also taught them the value of working to earn their belongings. Her scooter was bought at a thrift store and she used her money to pay for half of it. I know there are other kids who don't have as much and so I think it is a valuable lesson to teach them. Too often I think people are more concerned with what is theirs and keeping what is theirs than focusing on using what they have to share with others. I also think that some people borrow too much and their needs to be a balance. I have no problem giving someone a few eggs every once in a while, but when they want to borrow eggs EVERY time they go to make cookies eventually I am going to say no. My husband and I also will lend family members money on the basis that if they borrow that money they can not borrow another penny from us until they pay us back the money they borrowed the first time. You have no idea how handy that rule has been when it comes to family! I think too often we focus on teaching our kids to share what they have while their friends are playing, but when playtime ends sharing does too. So we will see how this all plays out and if the neighbor kids return the scooter or if we have to hunt it down (I know them pretty well and am not worried about having to hunt it down). Either way it will be a great way to teach her about lending things to others and trusting people. I think it will also be a great way to teach her how to give logical consequences because if they don't return the scooter like they said they would then M can then decide to no longer lend her toys to them because they didn't keep their word. Lots of teaching opportunities!
Have you ever had your kids lend something of theirs to someone else? How did it go for them? What are your thoughts on lending to others? Where do you draw the line?