Some of life's smallest lessons are life's biggest learnings.
I remember as a young child walking out of a hardware store with my mother when she noticed that I was playing with a small nail in my hand. I had picked it up when in the store and was just fidgeting with it and mindlessly walked out of the store. She scolded me and told me that I had just "stole" the nail and that I needed to walk right back in and return it and apologize. I was crying and all a mess because that had not been my intention. I remember the man at the counter must have thought that my mom was crazy for making me return a little nail. I grew up making such fun of my mom for such a silly little lesson, but the fact of the matter was - I never had the desire to steal again. Never. That was a small lesson with big learning.
A couple of years ago I had visited the doctors office at a local medical plaza. The parking lot had decorative rocks on the ground instead of grass. While walking back to the car Happy Girl picked up a rock and asked if she could take it home. I said no and we hopped in the car. When we were almost home I looked in the back seat and saw her playing with the rock. I was furious, because not only did she disobey, she stole. I remembered the life lesson my mom had taught me and new this was a perfect opportunity. I explain to her that not only did she disobey but she stole and we were going to have a talk that night.
After a scolding conversation with her, Hubby drove her back to the medical building and made her return the rock to the front desk. The lady at the desk was obviously a mom and picked up on the life lesson. When Happy Girl apologized for stealing the rock she wisely answered, "Honey, thank you so much for returning our rock! If every little kid took a rock with them we wouldn't have any rocks left to decorate our parking lot." It was a blessing. I don't think Happy Girl has ever had the desire to steal since.
This weekend was Happy Boy's turn to learn this life lesson. We had visited a store where he found a lens to a pair of broken sunglasses. He asked if he could have it and I said no because it belonged to the store. We walked out of the store and he showed me that he still had it. Yep - we had the talk and Dad and Happy Boy had to walk back to the store to return it and apologize. I hope this lesson has a life-long impact.