Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Lessons Learned

I was reminded yesterday of the immense responsibility involved with raising a child. As a parent, I have the express job of teaching my daughter the difference between right and wrong, and why it is best to do what is right. I also have the great opportunity to teach her about Jesus. In my opinion, these absolutely go hand in hand. Now to my story...

Casey and I went shopping last evening and after we had checked out and left a store, I was putting her into her carseat when she piped up, out of the blue: "I don't have anything in my pocket!" My translation: "There is something in my pocket that shouldn't be there and I don't want you to know about it." My first response was to ask, "What do you have in your pocket?" And after a quick search, I came up with a very small tin of altoids. "Casey! It is very wrong to steal! We never ever take anything out of a store without paying for it! That is very wrong and people get into a lot of trouble for doing that!" I took her back out of her seat and told her that we needed to go back into the store and give the candy to the clerk and apologize. So, we headed back in. When we reached the clerk, I told Casey to give her the candy and tell her "I'm sorry". It took a bit of coaxing and a couple of attempts to get it right, but we finally did. The clerk was very nice about it and thanked Casey for being honest. She then told me that she has had many small children learn this lesson in her store - whether that was to make me feel better, I don't know, but she was very nice and I have to appreciate that!

When we got back out to the car, I got down on Casey's level, looked her in the eyes and once again tried to get the point across that what she had done was very wrong. I told her that it made mommy and Jesus very sad, and that this is the kind of thing that policemen take people to jail for. She started to cry, and told me she was very sorry. Of course, I hugged her and told her that it should never happen again. Then I asked her, "What do we do when we want something in a store?" Her reply, "We pay for it." I think she got it.

To top it off, when we pulled out of the parking lot, a police car - with lights flashing - pulled a car over right across the street. Without even thinking about it, I said, "Look, Casey! There's a policeman!" Casey, "What's he doing, mama?" My reply, "Somebody did something bad." (Once again, I didn't even think about what I'd said...) Casey, a bit fearfully, "Was it me?"

I think the lesson was well-learned.

I did reassure her - the mom in me was a bit sad that I had scared my child so much without even thinking about it. I thank God for helping me teach Casey this little lesson, and for also teaching me this mommy lesson. I'm sure there will be many more...

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