• Give something away today

    Boy playing with sand and father lying in the background
    Where’s my spade? (Photo by Melvina Mak)

    I went looking for my son’s lost spade today in the sandpits of Malmö. I found it in the same pit where we found his Spiderman cap the other day. Two kids were playing nearby and wondered who this man was stealing their digging toy. 

    In most of the sandpits in Malmö you’ll find buckets and spades. They’re left by people who are generous with their possessions. 

    My son didn’t want to leave his spade

    I don’t blame him. It’s a nice spade. On top of that, his parents are twitchy, nervous London types who wouldn’t leave a chocolate bar unlocked, just in case. What’s a kid meant to do? Learn from the adults, that’s what. 

    But this simple act of anonymous generosity struck me in that moment. As the kids watched me slipping away with my retrieved spade, I suddenly realised how much better I’d feel if I went out, spent £10 and distributed buckets and spades in all the local playgrounds. So much better than scurrying around to keep hold of all my son’s missing toys. 

    My first Swedish lesson

    It might not be very original, but my first lesson from those famously egalitarian Swedes is, unsurprisingly, generosity. Give a bit away and everyone ends up feeling richer. Including you. 

    For something else a kid can teach you, read my blog: Are You A Smartphone Addict?