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You can’t share what you don’t own

Bill Fox

Bill Fox

By Bill Fox/Columnist

From a young age we are taught to share. When I was out west with our twin grandchildren (almost two), the little boy would take things from his sister and vice versa.

It seems this idea of taking things when we want them is almost an instinct. When “Sally” might take “Johnny’s” fire truck, we might say things like: “Sally, that fire truck belongs to Johnny”, but it really belongs to his parents. To illustrate, if his parents came upon difficult times, they might indeed have to sell all their children’s toys because in fact the children don’t “own” them.

I think the same analysis can be used in adult society. We live in Oshawa, and we may invest and work in Oshawa, but who really owns Oshawa? We love our Oshawa Generals, but really that team is not ours and the same can be said for the privately owned Toronto Maple Leafs, etc. Yet many of us say that is “our team.”

It is different with many homeowners. We use that term, “home owner” in very general terms because, legally, mortgage companies and/or banks truly own that home, until it is completely paid for, but they don’t mind sharing it with us until we pay them completely.

I, like many of you, struggle with the concept of ‘sharing’.

From Hebrews 13:16 – “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

“Giving is the highest expression of potency.” – Erich Fromm

Bob Hope, “ If you haven’t got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble”.

“It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

“There is no joy in possession without sharing.” – Erasmus

“Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.” – The Dalai Lama

“There is no delight in owning anything unshared.” – Seneca

“The miracle is this: The more we share the more we have.” – Leonard Nimoy

Now I could have used “sharing quotes” from all of the great world religions. They all reference the need to share.

In our society, I believe most think these quotes simply mean giving to charities that support the poor. No?

What about our world community? Ah yes, I do sponsor a child in World Vision, so am I doing my little bit? And is this enough? But what about you?

Just like we don’t own Oshawa, or even Ontario, or even Canada, then how come we reacted so strongly when we are asked to welcome in immigrants or refugees from other countries?

I have questions about 18 year old Rahaf Mohammed, our newest refugee. She said she was beaten up for not praying and locked in the house for six months for cutting her hair short. There are reports that she is receiving death threats and that Saudi men are calling for her to be hanged as an example to other would be ‘rebels’. Ultimately, however, male guardianship laws remain in place in Saudi Arabia. Under these laws, a woman must have her male guardian’s permission in order to obtain a passport, travel abroad or marry.  From childhood through adulthood, every Saudi woman passes from the control of one legal guardian to another, a male relative whose decisions or whims can determine the course of her life. Legal guardians are often a woman’s father or husband, but can also be a brother or her own son.

Male permission is sometimes still demanded when a woman tries to rent an apartment, open a bank account or even to leave the house.

“It’s daily oppression,” Mohammed added. “We are treated as an object, like a slave. We could not make decisions about what we want. I was exposed to physical violence, persecution, oppression, threats to be killed.”

I’m glad we are sharing our country with people like Rahaf. How many of us are glad that the inhabitants of Canada opened their doors for people like myself (in 1950) to share the wealth and beauty of our great nation?