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Raising Catholic Kids

alec vanderboom

The menus have changed radically in our house, now that there is an "over-pregnant" chef in the kitchen. Instead of hot cereal, we're eating boxed cereal every morning.

Yesterday, Hannah came back to the table at 10 AM for a second helping of breakfast. She figured out that the novel box on our table actually contained a prize inside.

"Mama, I got a new rule," she said. "Whoever gets the toy first in her cereal bowl . . ."

Mentally, I supplied the rest of her sentence "gets to keep it."

Instead, my daughter surprised me. She said "will get to play with the toy first, before the others. Don't you think that's a good rule?"

I was totally shocked. My siblings and I were born five and nine years apart. Yet I remember having countless fights at the breakfast table over who would get the coveted toy in the cereal box. In our minds possession meant "ownership." I never remember us working together to find a fair way to share our toys, not even the cheap plastic things found inside a cereal box.

Yet in my daughters mind "getting" a toy, meant simply having first dibs before you shared that toy with others. She couldn't imagine one kid having sole ownership rights to a cool new toy while the rest of the siblings had nothing.