Why Sharing is Caring...

There's a house kinda' up the hill behind ours that has a ridiculously tall, ostentatious gate.  Actually to be completely honest I'm not even sure if there is a house behind the gate because the gate is so bloody big it blocks everything out.  Ain't nobody gonna' trespass on their private property!  ...Every time I drive past it I'm reminded of the "natural" generosity of the Cambodian people. 

Did you know it's a biological fact that when we have less we tend to be more open to sharing what we have?  

According to Simon Sinek author of Leaders Eat Last, "The more we have, the bigger our fences, the more sophisticated our security to keep people away and the less we want to share..."  

It only takes the average person about 10 minutes in Cambodia to realise that that the Cambodian people are very good at sharing ... They're generous with their presence, their hospitality, their time and what little resources they have.  Interesting huh. 

The really interesting part is that protecting/ hoarding all our "precious possessions" actually makes us kinda' sad... because let's face it "stuff" doesn't necessarily equal happiness ... but sharing does! 

I'm a 40 year old woman (kinda' grown up) and I've lived in a share house for the past 6 years... Yup my time in Cambodia has made me realise the benefits of sharing space and resources.   I may be kinda' weird but it seems ridiculous to me that we'd have a washing machine, fridge, oven... and an entire home JUST for us.  

But once upon a time I did have it all just for us....

In fact I remember years ago, (before share housing) returning home with my kids and noticing that some "stuff" had moved around in our house.  Using my best (totally practical) detective skills I realised a chair had been moved in order to reach some chocolate that I'd deliberately placed "out of reach" of my own cherubs ... So it was obvious the "thief" was a child.  ...Weird.  Another time we came home and discovered some food had been taken from the pantry and the wrappers left "casually" on the bench... It was always food that went missing.  

We eventually worked out that two little girls from the house a couple of doors up had been breaking in.  Obviously the big sister (about 8 years old) was boosting the little sister (about 4 years old) in through a tiny opening in a window.  Because the little sister was so ummmm "innocent" she was unknowingly leaving all kinds of "evidence." 

I decided to go and talk to their mum.  I was greeted at the door by a teenage girl with a toddler wrapped around her leg... so it seemed their were two more siblings....  When the mum finally came to the door I noticed she wasn't very "present"  and from what I could see their house was an absolute shambles.    I realised I'd be better off talking directly to the girls involved and asked the mum if I could have a chat with her middle daughters.    

When the girls came to the door they were rightfully nervous (they knew their game was up.) I suggested we chat outside and they followed me in silence.   

"Girls"  I said,  "I know you have been breaking into our house and that is absolutely not OK."  Their faces dropped.  "I've also noticed that you've stolen food."  Their faces dropped some more,  At this stage I allowed them to feel whatever they needed to feel before asking "Are you hungry?"  The little sister's face relaxed a bit and just as she was about to talk the big sister elbowed her in the ribs. "If you're hungry you need to tell me" I said. 

  ...Eventually the little sister told me she was very hungry and much to her big sisters disgust  went on to share that "Mummy doesn't leave food for us when she goes out."  

What could I do?  Sometimes you've gotta' handle first things first ... So to start with, I fed them!   

It wasn't until the following day, when I heard non-stop crying coming from their toddler sibling  that I knew something  more had to be done.  The toddler had obviously been standing on their balcony for an hour or so by herself, crying.  I banged on the door but no one answered so I banged some more.  I knew I had to be crafty so I ran home, got a Freddo Frog and ran back ... Eventually the toddler came to the door. 

"Is Mummy home?" I asked.  The toddler's bottom lip dropped as she shrugged her shoulders as if to say I don't know.  "Who is looking after you?"  I asked.  The toddler pointed to her teenage sister sleeping on the couch.  It was then I used the Freddo Frog to get her to open the door. 

The toddler happily ate the Freddo Frog while I walked towards her teenage sister (silently praying that she be alive.)  I felt so relieved when I saw her breathing, I shook her to wake her ... and boy did she take some shaking ...  When she eventually woke up her inhibitions were obviously lowered and after a while she openly confessed her mum was prostituting herself to pay bills and while she didn't always get drunk it was her way of dealing with having to go to high school and look after her little sisters.  The thing is I could still feel her love and loyalty - this girl did not want her family torn apart and I absolutely got it.  Sadly (or fortunately) I knew they needed professional help and that I'd have to get Family Services involved.  

Family services were so helpful.  The family moved out soon after but I do see them from a distance sometimes.  They all look a lot healthier and I take it as a good sign that when I do see them they smile at me. 

FYI I don't attract thieves anymore ... instead I simply share what resources I do have in the first place.  Maybe this helps balance my karma?  ...  I dunno' but maybe our Cambodian friends are onto something?   

"When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence."

Sharing love,



  • Have a spring clean and donate all your extra "stuff" to charity.

  • Get to know your neighbours

  • Ask yourself "How can I share my resources?" 

  • "When you have more than you need, build a longer table not a higher fence." 

  • Volunteer