Rubberband Bracelets and Other Currency
October 15, 2013
Remember friendship bracelets, the original staple of summer
camp? And your best friend who whipped them up at home for a chosen
few. 'What's your favorite color? Your second favorite?' There was
something happening here, something much bigger than bracelets. If
you weren't collecting them at recess, on the bus or after school,
you were worried that said something about you. Were you friendship
bracelet material? Would you need to dream up ways to get your own
operation off the ground?
They were the currency of friendship - and courtship - and you
were lining your wrists and your proverbial wallet.
And so, we were part sentimental, part skeptical when our own
kids started asking for rubber band
bracelet-making kits. Have you seen them? They're on TV, in
stores and basically everywhere. We've watched as our kids worked
the loom like mad spiders. And then, we watched what happened
Our kids came home from school with new ones lining their wrists
or they were missing the ones they had made this morning. And there
were always stories that went with the bracelets, new or
"I got this one in the lunchroom from
Dylan and he told me he was going to make me another one."
"I broke this one accidentally on the
playground, so Piper told me her brother would make me a new
"You want one of mine?"
What was happening here? They were doing what we'd told them to
do 3,547,622 times - they were sharing. This group of children who
grew up more connected to the world around them than we ever were
was realizing that there was a win/win to sharing. There was
connection and understanding and community in sharing. And far less
drama than we expected.
According to a recent Wikia study, Generation Z,
even more than the Ys or millennials that came before them, are
more comfortable and more motivated to share. A full 60% of Gen
Zers say they like to share their knowledge with others online.
Does this translate to rubberband bracelets . . . or Cheez Doodles, you think?
Has this Share Mentality led to less of what
Stephen Covey described as the Scarcity
Mentality, an idea that there are only so many resources
out there and when one person gets something that means you
"People with Scarcity Mentality
have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or
profit, even with those who help in production. They also have a
very hard time being genuinely happy for the successes of other
people . . . their sense of worth comes from being compared, and
someone else's success, to some degree, means their failure."
The Abundance Mentality, the alter ego to Scarcity,
proposes the win/win theory. The idea that sharing is mutually
beneficial. We are better together and happier together. According
to Franklin Covey Canada:
"Abundance Mentality flows out
of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the
paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for
everybody. It results in the sharing of prestige, recognition,
profits, decision making . . . It takes personal joy, satisfaction
and fulfillment and turns it outward."
Maybe we've done something right because they seem to have a
sense of self worth that allows for them to take joy in another's
happiness and good fortune. There is a certain resilience and
optimism and humility in that. And we take personal joy in seeing
this transformation. Do our kids share like Mother Theresa? No. Do
they sometimes keep the best bracelets for themselves, compare
their wrists to others, and turn it into a competition? Yes. But we
see an attitude of abundance and sharing and connection, too and
we're a little dazzled by it all.
Is giving really more fun than
receiving? Seems our kids may have something to teach us.
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