Monday, June 12, 2006

Oh, how we learn... Let me count the ways!

This was such a lovely weekend! The weather was to die for, I did absolutely no housework, and I actually spent the weekend with my boys, just chillin', watching the Pastorman's youngest son's lacrosse tournament, sunin' and funin'! I did run some errands ... you know ... typical things like running to Costco to get some adorable PJs for Hunter. I know ... you're thinking to yourself ... Costco? Pajamas? Weird! But, you just can't beat the price! We got these cute 3-piece Carter's PJs for $12 ... they are $20 regular and $15 on sale at JC Penney's. Then, we got this adorable bathing suit with a matching top (came as a set) for under $10 ... I think it was $8, actually ... and at JCP the swimming trunk alone was $20 regular and $15 on sale! We got him a few rompers, too. All in all -- we made out big! So did Hunter.

Sunday, Hunter's uncle (my husband's younger brother) went down to get him from the nursery after Church ... they look so cute together. His uncy and aunty are totally smitten with him, and I love to watch them hold him, play with him, and talk to him. It saddens me that my sister lives so far away and is missing a lot of fun times with Hunter, but on the other hand, it gives me great joy to watch Hunter get to know his aunts and uncles here!

Anyway ... back to my point ... We had to make a special trip to Wal-Mart, and pay for a (cough, cough) "shoplifted" item (we also had to get a fan). Yes, folks ... my little (okay, ginormous) 8 month old was my partner in crime as we accidentally shoplifted a toy from Wal-Mart. First of all ... I hate going to that store. Second of all, you never know if a child is going to actually "like" a toy ... so shoplift it! Just kidding. So, I gave it to him so he could hold it while we shopped. That way, I'd know if he was interested in it. The only problem was ... he fell asleep. And when he falls asleep, he pulls his silky over his head. And that's when Mom forgot he had the toy, finished shopping, checked out, put him in the car, went to my next destination, took the car seat out, and as the silky slid away from his face, I discovered ... with great horror, I might add ... that the GiBee's had shoplifted. Over Memorial Day weekend. A full two weeks ago. Sure, I know this happens to everyone ... but this young? (lol!)

Now, I joked about this incident with several people, and it was quite interesting to see people's reactions. Some (my Christian friends and family) encouraged me to go back and pay for the item (which I fully intended to do). Others laughed it off and exclaimed, "well, that's one way to get a free toy!" Some told us, "well, they rip you off all the time, so it all evens out!" And others said, "how many times have you gone to the store, paid for something, only to find out it's not in your bag when you get home because the clerk forgot to put it in? So basically, don't worry about it, it all washes out in the end!"

Yeah. I was surprised at some of the replies I got. It made me stop and question what they are teaching their children! Little comments like those may seem harmless, but the message they are sending is that it's okay if you shoplift something small ... it all evens out in the long run. Now, I'll admit ... it took me two weeks to actually find the free time to run back and pay for the toy. And what was the comment the lady in customer service made? "Well, it looks like we have an honest one in the bunch." Now, that's what I want my son to learn. If you do something wrong, be honest about it and try to rectify the situation!

We live in a messed up world with upside down values and morals... and in my mind, it's an if/then situation... if you don't start by teaching your children wrong from right about the little things, like shoplifting bubble gum, or lying to a teacher, or being mean to a kid in the neighborhood, then it could lead to bigger things ... with even greater consequences.

Satan is a crafty little bugger, and he will use peer pressure to make something seem harmless and trite. For instance ... one small sin caused a total unraveling of life as Adam and Eve once knew it. Just a mere 60 (or so) verses into the Old Testament, and life was never the same for them! One fruit, from one tree -- do not eat it. That's not too hard to understand, is it? But in comes satan and he starts to justify why it's okay to eat of the fruit, and both Eve and Adam cave to an attractive sin.

I know there will be many times when my child is tempted by his peers, or the media, or even his friends parents. He will hear arguments that are attractive, and might even make sense to him, but are full of half-truths. My job as a mom is to teach him how to avoid being led into sin, and how to learn to analyze everything he hears to help him pull out those "attractive half-truths" that might get him to trouble, and learn how to see them for what they are. It's important that he learn that sin causes disunity between us and God, but regardless of what we do, God still wants to forgive us and spend time with us.

Many children and youth are so much more like Adam than Eve, however, in that they do not want to take any personal responsibility for their sin. And why not? They see how people in our pop culture, professional athletes, and even politicians explain their immoral behavior away with all kinds of excuses, and blame-casting on others. It would have been easy for me to just open the package on the toy, add it to Hunters other toys, and go on with life. But, even though my son is only 8 months old, and really doesn't understand much, I still didn't want to cave in and not do what was the right thing.

It is so important ... now more than ever ... for Christian parents to take an active role in their children's lives and teach them to become aware of God's presence in their lives ... even while they are in the midst of sin. Sin can not be hidden from God, but that's what we end up trying to do, and that's the message we send our kids when we tell them not to worry about a particular, small, teeny-weeny sin, because it "all washes out in the end." Maturity comes from accepting responsibility, right? And, in kind, Spiritual maturity comes from accepting responsibility before God, not letting it "wash out" in the long run.

I can only imagine how frightening it can be for a child to be caught doing something they know is wrong, and I can only imagine how uncomfortable it might be for them it they are not caught, as they wonder whether someone will find out or not. Imagine how frightened Adam and Eve were when they were caught in sin! So frightened were they, that they tried to hide from the very presence of God! (Gen. 3:10) But even though they were tainted with sin, God had a plan to bring redemption and restoration to us through the sacrifice of his son, Jesus.

Proverbs 22 is full of great insight... and one verse, in particular, is one we often focus on ... that is Prob. 22:6 "Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old, he will not turn from it." And this is so true, but look at what else Proverbs 22 says leading up to and including verse 6 --

"A prudent man sees danger and takes refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it. Humility and the fear of the Lord bring wealth and honor and life. In the paths of the wicked lie thorns and snares, but he who guards his soul stays far from them. Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." Proverbs 22:3-6

What does this mean to me? Well, if I begin teaching my son right from wrong as soon as he is old enough to understand, then he will learn to see trouble coming up, and hopefully, he will learn to walk away from it before he gets wrapped up in it. Now, the "trouble" he walks away from might appear to be more attractive and fun, but hopefully, he will understand that while the immediate payoff for making the right choice might not be that great, the payoff in the long run is much more rewarding and satisfying. If I point my children in the right direction, they will know to use the skills we have instilled in them to stay clear from the dangerous road of sin, and they won't forget what we teach them, using those skills to become prudent and wise.

As a mother, my responsibility is to equip my son to make wise decisions on his own, steer clear of trouble, avoid the "dangerous road" and implement wisdom it in his daily decisions. And, hopefully, if he's ever with a group of friends that are pressuring him to shoplift a candy bar, he will know that it's wrong, and will choose to walk away.


aggiejenn said...

What a great mama you are!

Heather Smith said...

Great post GiBee! And so true! Parents have to teach their children the right thing from infancy. The world will definitely teach them the wrong thing. Yay for you!

Peach said...

This is definitely worthy of a Joshua tagline, GiBee! You are so right, and I have probably been guilty of some of those very same attitudes in the past. Thank you for the convicting words today. I appreciate and wholeheartedly align myself with your perspective.

Morning Glory said...

You're so right and this is well stated. Honesty seems to be a rare commodity these days.

Susanne said...

What the alarm thingy didn't go off when you tried to walk out the door? Now that would have been shocking for you! :D

You're a good mom! And you're right, teach them from when they are tiny. If you cave in on doing right from wrong, even on small things, how can you expect any different from them as they grow. 'Cause trust me, they will notice and bring it up!!

Angie said...

Honesty surely is hard to come by these days! This same type of thing happened to me not too long ago, and when we took it back they (the employees) thought I was nuts! Goes to show, I reckon they don't get that too often!

Hey, you need to go check out my post for Friday, you might be surprised...better hurry!

Shalee said...

You did the best thing in that situation! You admitted the error, rectified it by the apology and payment and showed "the light" to the world. See how such a great lesson can apply not only to your son, but to those who are watching?

Plus, you had the feeling of doing to right thing to aid you along. Great mom and a great example all wrapped up in one GiBee!

Janice (5 Minutes for Mom) said...

Good job!! I totally agree with your thinking. We need to be good examples - esp in the little things like that. That is where character starts.

great insights as usual!

Someone else had a post just recently about this too - accidently shoplifting. It is so easy with those little fingers grabbing toys. And when they fall alseep with a blanket over there head - good grief - how is a mom to know?!?!

flipflop said...

ah yes, the old swipe-ee trick. Been there myself. My second child shoplift every time we went into bath and body works. Of course I would return everything after finding the 'stuff'. She would hide it in the most unusual places. We ended up making her go through full body search with radars, scanners, and any other laser device we could find before leaving said store. She's only 1-2 years old when then was happening, but we decided to stop the clepto business she had going right then. Who knows now at age 5 what she would be like if we had not.

Now I used a different lesson to teach my oldest daughter..

Anyway, aren't babies so cute in pj's? Love pj time!

flipflop said...

that would be..


flipflop said...

blogger is horrible!

that would be..

TLB said...

Stick to your guns and raise your kids to be godly adults with integrity.

You thief, you. ;-)

Lauren said...

A few years back, I was putting my groceries into the van and noticed I had an extra gallon of milk. I am of the same school of thought as you, all three kids were with me, this was an excellent lesson for them.

Thing is, the manager thought I was nuts. So nuts, that when he happened to wonder into my husband's work a month or so later and even though they didn't know each other, it somehow came up in conversation. I had told my husband about it so he was able to say, "Yep, that was my wife."

Long story not-short-enough, he was able to use it as a springboard to share the gospel with him. How cool is that?

TLB said...

Oh, bother. TLB is me without sense enough to know to change from the Trinity Ladies' Band profile when I stop work on our new Blogger blog that may never reach fruition.


Rabbit said...

Way to go, GiBee! I accidentally came out of Target with unpaid-for toilet paper (it was on the bottom rack of my cart and I completely forgot) and realized it as I put my things in the car out in the parking lot. I threw it in the car and had to dash off to pick up Pie Girl at school, came back to Target later, explained the situation, and the guy behind the Cust. Svc. counter looked at me like I had just sprouted a third eyeball. He had NEVER had a customer come in and do such a thing. Amazing.

Tess said...

That was a great example you set, even if Hunter may be too young to understand right now. You are sowing the seeds of honesty, and you'll reap the harvest of integrity.

Faith said...

Great post. It reminds me of a post I need to do,sorta along the same lines.

Mom Nancy said...

It's a lesson we have to keep teaching as things change in our world. My daughter's friend made a copy of a DVD of a movie my daughter wanted to see and gave it to her. She asked us if she could watch it and we said no, it's stealing. She said I didn't ask for it, and I know it's stealing, so can I watch it now? I said, no, this is a big deal for me because my books are available in electronic format and that's super easy to copy - steal royalties - from me. I won't stand for her to be doing something like that either! We made her destroy the DVD and if she wanted to watch that movie we had to rent it. (BTW, we did and it was terrible - a dumb teenage angst movie with no likeable characters! She liked it though.)