I work with kids. Especially toddlers. Every day. And I have kids of my own. Listen, I know toddlers have a soiled (pun intended) reputation, but I’ve noticed something else: toddlers share way better than adults.
If you know any toddlers, you’re probably thinking, “This lady’s nuttier than my three-year-old.” Hold on. I know about the temper tantrums, selfishness, smells, pouting, and relentless shouting of “mine!” Toddlers can be hilarious. But did you know that’s one reason they’re so good at being generous?
I’ll explain. Toddlers remind me of this well-known Scripture.
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT, emphasis added)
Here’s something you might not know. That word “cheerful” comes from the Greek root word hilaros. It also means, ready to do anything, and it’s where we get the word “hilarious.” Tracking now? What if we read 2 Corinthians 9:7 like this:
Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a hilarious giver who’s ready to do anything.
Now that sounds like a toddler.
Here are 5 hilarious ways I’ve noticed toddlers share way better than adults:
- They share germs—freely. Ew. I know. Think about the snot, the sneezes, the sloppy kisses, the flu. If a toddler near you has it, they typically share it with you. But it’s because they just want to be near you. They want to share your space. Sometimes, we’d rather not have our toddlers underfoot. But nothing beats the warmth and comfort of a good cuddle with a little one who wants your presence more than they want a Kleenex.
- Toddlers share because they don’t like to see their friends sad. You’ve probably seen it. A toddler notices their friend is sad, so they reach down and share a book or a toy with the sad friend. They’re ready to do anything to cheer up a friend. Sometimes they bring their friend toy after toy, trying to figure out which one will bring the smile and sigh of contentment. Toddlers genuinely respond in the moment with kindness.
- They share things you’d rather they didn’t. Have you ever been handed a half-eaten cookie off the floor, with the sweetest face offering it in the sweetest voice? “Momma, for you!” You’re thinking of the jillion-and-one reasons why this is not a good idea. But their precious toddler heart sees something they think you’d like, and they present it to you proudly. It’s kind. It’s generous. It’s hilarious.
- Toddlers value “together-ness.” If anyone can teach us to be generous with our time and attention, it’s toddlers. One little guy I know loves sharing a blanket with his brother. He will grab a blanket in the living room and then pat the couch next to him, saying “brudder,” inviting his brother to sit beside him. Or maybe you’ve noticed your little one grabbing your hand and pointing to toy cars, where they need you to play police officer. They want to include you in anything.
- Children share because they’re taught to. Remember how I said toddlers can be selfish sometimes? Well, they don’t know any better until they’re taught to share, right? “What a great job sharing your toys, Dax!” “Oh Emma, let’s share with our friends.” I don’t know about you, but these are common phrases spoken around the toddlers I know. Here’s the thing, these toddlers learn to share fast! Let’s take note, and readily obey this reminder to share what we have.
John answered, “Anyone who has two shirts should share with the one who has none, and anyone who has food should do the same.” Luke 3:11
I think toddlers can show us the way in our giving journey. Let’s be cheerful—no, wait—hilarious givers, ready for anything.