“I left my money somewhere, probably in your wallet. Let me check. ” - Jarod Kintz,
When I was twelve, I was at the local grocer with a friend, looking through the candy isle. I had my eye on the row of Jelly Bellies, and I wasn't leaving without a nice bag full of the sweet goodness. Money? Pfffttt,.....no, I didn't have the money for it. I was wearing an over sized army surplus jacked with some BIG pockets. I looked left and right, slipped the large bag of my score into the jacket pocket, and made my way out of the store. A young associate jogged up behind me and politely asked me to empty my pockets. I was busted, had to call my mom, and later explain to her and my father just what the heck I was thinking. I did community service, and didn't go back to the store for months out of shame.
The topic of our children's future came up recently in a conversation with The Wife. A teenager in the family had been caught in an untruth regarding his evening whereabouts and it got us thinking about the personalities of our little ones. It was agreed that my 8YO is a terrible liar, but our 4YO might be a problem. While the eldest is sweet and kind, honest and innocent, our second child can fall outside of that. So we discuss how we can keep them on a path that doesn't land them in community service.
When I was caught, my father had later asked me why I didn't just ASK for the money, since we most certainly had it. After a few shrugs and "I dunno", it came out that I'd grabbed some smaller items and was never caught. The items got bigger until my hand was "caught in the cookie jar". I knew stealing was bad, but tried it a few times and didn't look back. So what changed? I realized we didn't talk about a lot of topics when I was young. The Wife and I are trying to bring up a lot more than we remember hearing about. The world seems smaller and more intense than I remember it, and I think a lot of parents agree with that, no matter the age. So it is our charge to talk more to our children. Not just about stealing, but about everything. Talk and talk a lot, about a lot of things. When we open the lines of communication, great things can happen. Let us all just try.