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The Little Red Hen: On Sharing, Entitlement, and Thanks

“No, I will eat it myself!” said the Little Red Hen. And she did.

There are many books with lessons carried out through life. This goes along with the idea that everything you need to learn is taught in kindergarten. Sharing, saying “please,” washing your hands after the bathroom.


My husband was brought up differently than I was. When I was told to share the new toy, he was told that it was his to play with, and no one else’s. When I was told to allow someone to color with my crayons, he was told to keep his safe. He was never pushed to share what was his.

The story “The Little Red Hen” is the argument that my (wonderful) mother-in-law uses. No one helped the hen make her bread, so she will not share her accomplishment with them. If you worked hard to get something, if you are the one who has to clean up afterwards, if you are the one who has to use what is left of that half-broken red crayon, there is no need for you to share.

Of course you can if you want to. But there is no guilt attached.

If you look at this story from the other point of view, you see the valuable lesson that if you don’t pitch in, you don’t reap the rewards. Unfortunately with the world of entitlement, it is unlikely that this idea is going to seep into your child’s mind without some parental prodding.

This is something that both my parents, and my in-laws, agree on. You have to work hard to get what you want. Do not rely on anyone else for something you want.

A third thing that you can bring out from this story is how much work goes into even the smallest thing. Children do not really appreciate what goes into a simple loaf of bread. The planting, reaping, grinding, baking, are all integral work that is needed for this one product. It is worth taking a minute to thank those involved in this process, especially the one who facilitated all of this – God. This book is a great way to explain the meaning of the words “who sustains the entire world with goodness, kindness and mercy. God gives bread to all creatures,” that we say in the Bentching following a meal with bread.


Do you read this story with your child? What lessons do you point out and hope that your child will gain?