Those of you who are friends from Facebook know I was a little upset last night. I realize that honesty and morality are rather gray areas in our society, but I still get indignant about anything involving a child. I’ll recap for the rest of you:
I had finished my shopping at WalMart last night and was walking to my truck. A woman with two children was walking right in front of me and she was also parked next to me. Her children, a girl and a boy, appeared to be about thirteen and ten. Just as we approached our vehicles the boy shouted and told his mom that there was large pack of water in one of the carts in the cart corral. I expected to hear her tell him that someone had left it and might come back, or that the cart guys would take it back into the store. Instead she excitedly said, “Well, go get it!” After he quickly did so, she put it in the back of her truck!!
Now, I’m no saint, but to my way of thinking, that is just stealing, plain and simple. She knew it wasn’t hers and her children knew it wasn’t hers. Personally I would have left it there. If it had been something more valuable, I would have pushed it into the store and given it to the greeter.
This is just an example of what we are teaching our children and why they are so confused. Mom has condoned stealing water from a cart in the WalMart parking lot. Is it okay to steal something from the playground at school? How about something that falls out of someone’s locker? (I’ve had a student do that.) How about a library book left on a desk? What are the rules? Where are the boundaries? How does a child decide what is right or wrong? Will mom be surprised when her child is caught shoplifting at the local convenience store? I’ve already had at least two former students attend juvenile facilities before attending high school.
We all have to stop and remember that children learn far more from our actions than they do from our words.