Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Trials and Tribulations of Curbing a Thief

Last weekend was chock full of Christmas shopping for the Dungan five. On Saturday we would hit no less than 11 stores. I can also tell you that the twerplets were no less than excellent. All in all, we really had a pretty good time with the exception of one incident.

At Pier One, all of the Christmas decorations were out on display. One of my favorites were the tiny little presents that spilled out onto the top of the tables and adorned many of the other nick knacks throughout the store. They were small packages no bigger than a finger tip, wrapped in holiday colored foil, and secured with the tiniest of gold bows. They were adorable little decorations.

After we left the store, Lynley noticed Sydney was playing with something in the back seat. Sure enough, she had stolen one of these little decorations. Worse yet, she decided to lie about where she got the item. This was not going in her favor. After a few moments of thought though she finally confessed to her transgression.

Was I happy about the situation? Of course, not. Was I mad? Well, mostly for lying to her mother but also that she would take something, no matter how small, that did not belong to her. However, I do love these opportunities. This is an occasion to do some real valuable edumification.

You see, I have the belief that, in many ways, training little kiddos is very much like training dogs. To truly get something to sink in you have to catch them in the act. For some reason, with dogs and children, they do not make a true connection with hypothetical examples. However, the cold face of reality can make life long impressions almost instantaneously.

This was an opportunity to do some real learning, not only for Sydney but also with her junior gaggle of future thieves, Graham and Ainsley. In the large scheme of things the thievery of a table decoration was really not that big of a deal - no one was going to be arrested or sent to jail. However, this certainly had the chance to be a momentous occasion in their lives. This was a fork in the road. It is moments like this that gives you the opportunity to grow respectful and honest adults instead of people that think they have a right to what they do not own.

So, we took this opportunity to make this a life lesson. It would be a day before we could make our way back across town but indeed, we would make our way back to the store. The time actually did Sydney good. She did a lot of thinking and worrying about her transgression. I would even go as far to say that she lost some sleep worrying about what she would say to the store manager the next day when she returned the item to the store. Yes, this would be something she would never forget. It was a perfect learning experience. It was a big topic amongst the twerp brethren as well. It would dominate conversation for the better part of a day.

The next day, however, we made our way back to the store. Sydney did an excellent job talking with the store manager. She spoke clearly and apologetically. Her apology was among the best I have heard. It was heartfelt and meaningful. The manager thanked her for returning the item. There was no need to say much more. Sydney had covered anything that needed to be said and it was crystal clear that she had learned her lesson.

The saga was over and an almost meaningless item had been returned to the store. However, for Sydney and the rest of the twerplets this was a life lesson they would not soon forget.

As we walked out of the store we saw another little girl about Sydney's age at the table adorned with the little presents. As the little girl left the table she picked up one of the little presents and put it in her pocket.

Sydney's eyes became the size of half dollars.

The irony was thick.

But then Sydney turned to me and said, I don't want to be her.

She learned something.

It is amazing what can be gained from something that cost less that a nickel.

I wonder what the other child's parent will do? What will she learn from the experience?

Purpose can have amazing power.

1 comment:

Robin said...

Great entry, we've all been there that's for sure! All the best.