A new song about an old problem
by Clare Burson

Not having read or thought much about the story of Jacob and Esau since I was 9 or 10 years old, re-reading the story now, as an adult and as a mother, I was struck most by what terrible parenting Isaac and Rebecca exhibit in this story.  They choose favorites; Rebecca keeps a tremendous secret from her husband, Isaac; Rebecca encourages her younger son to deceive his father and steal his older brother’s birthright.


In our group discussions, we concluded that the notion of a younger child receiving the birthright of his older brother would have seemed utterly subversive in biblical times.  This made me think of how the true subversive idea then would have and should have been one of parity, equality, and, simply put: sharing.  Divide the goat herd, the blessings, the garments, the land.  Instead of having the older son serve the younger, why not have the two brothers serve each other, work side by side?

My contribution to the journal is a children’s song, which perhaps, in the end, is not only for children.

Share, Share, Share

Oh brother, baby brother,
Tiny wrinkled and new
Everybody says I’m a lucky little girl
To have a baby brother like you
I get to share my toys, yes, all my toys
All of my favorite things
Will be split down the middle
Fair and square
Don’t sound fair to me

But you gotta share, share,
share Mama says everybody’s gotta share

Oh sister, my big sis
Please let me hang out with you and your friends
Stay up late like the big kids do
To find out how the movie ends
Will you give me a turn on the bike you’re ridin
Sneak me a peak at the picture you’re hidin
Don’t eat the very last bag of chips without saving some for me

Cause you gotta share, share,
share Mama says everybody’s gotta share

Oh mother, oh father
What if there aint enough to go around?
Can I scream and shout and hit the wall,
and stomp my feet down on the ground
What if there’s not enough love,
not enough time,
not enough stuff
And we can’t decide
Can’t decide
If it’s me or her
If it’s him or me
No, we can’t see how to

Share, share, share Mama says everybody’s gotta share . . .