Monday, August 12, 2013

the best kids' song (so says the ethics professor)

It's Monday, but this isn't so much a mixtape - it's just a little plug for a song that is barely a minute long.

Because I have a 2-year-old, I have "sharing" on the brain a lot - it's a hard concept to learn (and teach). Which is why I love this song from Raffi so much.

I know, I know - RAFFI. His voice is like nails on a chalkboard to a lot of parents, and this doesn't even have any redeeming humorous lines like the bad puns in "Bananaphone." But this is my husband's favorite kids' song, and here's why: it teaches a real lesson about why we should share instead of the usual response we give when trying to convince our toddlers to stop grabbing toys away from their friends.

Typically, we say that sharing is important because we would want someone to share with us. "How would it make you feel if you didn't have a toy and your friend didn't want to share with you?" we cajole our tots. But this just perpetuates the problem toddlers already have: thinking that the world revolves around them. The only reason to share, if you follow this logic, is so others will give things to you - not because sharing has any kind of inherent or intrinsic good on its own.

And that's why Jason loves this song. "It's mine, but you can have some," sings Raffi. "With you I like to share it. 'Cause if I share it with'll have some too." Sharing is good because then everyone has something. People who have a lot (like "a tasty treat" or "a book to read" or "a block you need" - can we extend the metaphors here without beating a dead horse?) can make the world a happier place by giving some of what they have to people who don't have so much.

If you come to me and ask, I'll give some to you - because even though it's mine, I'd like you to have some too. Isn't that a good lesson for all of us?


  1. I love this. Definitely a great way to teach our children compassion and empathy. I'll try that next time. My 2 year old is very concerned when other people are sad - this taps into his concern for others.


  2. Oh, we are definitely listening to this several times tomorrow. I don't know how I've never heard it! On another note, this is the first time I've ever considered the possibility that not all parents love Raffi. What!?

  3. Very good lesson. I never really thought about articulating it that way. Thanks!