12 November 2013, Tuesday
A day after A3 came home with a Model Pupil pin that he was awarded in school (see ref), he came home, excitedly announcing he picked up $10.
I thought he was pulling my leg, so I pressed him to tell me the truth how he landed so much money. He said he picked up a wallet in school, saw the $10 note in it, kept the note and handed the wallet to school authorities.
For a second, I grimaced at the thought of having to counsel him on ethics. But then, familiar with his exemplary character and cheeky ways both, I reverted to my initial impression of him pulling my leg. Yet, he held fast to the fact that he was telling the truth.
This questioning by me and insistence by him went on for a few more times … till A3 finally whipped out the evidence as he insisted one more time that he was telling the truth. I realised then that he was indeed being honest (irony) about it!
Teaching Without Shaming
I could see he knew what he did was wrong. Still, I had to act … and fast, to show importance of the matter.
I proceeded to explain to him what he did was wrong, painted the picture of a kid being disciplined by his/her parent(s) for losing so much money, and deducing how the money could have been given to the boy/girl for the P5 Charity Sale that day (Money meant for charity). Mom and Dad, when they overheard the goings-on, chipped in in their own ways.
Because A3 has a strong sense of what’s right and what’s wrong, we were able to keep our cool and talk to him calmly.
Fixing Things With Dignity
I am certain A3 learnt his lesson. But still, things needed to be put right.
What was I to do? How could A3 do the right thing and return the money without losing his dignity? … I didn’t want to wait till the wallet was already returned to the kid and the money had to follow after. It would be great to shorten the wallet owner’s stress as promptly as possible, the poor kid. … Yet, I didn’t want to embarrass A3, with him having to explain the whole truth as he turned the money in to the school authorities. [Quick, text S: you’ve gotta help me help A3 think of a way to do this]
Two nights and a day passed, but still no solution. 14 November 2013, Thursday was the last day of school but one. I didn’t want to leave things any later than it already was.
Amid pure desperation to resolve things, inspiration struck. And so it was, that I went with A3 to the school office that morning; he handed the money over, explaining that he had picked up a wallet on Tuesday and his friend (without naming anyone) had coaxed him into keeping the money but returning the wallet, and that mommy encouraged him to return the money.
A win-win-win situation for the wallet’s owner, A3 and Mommy.
[Of course, I hope it doesn’t dawn on A3 to make lying, even it it’s white lying, a habit]