My second oldest child is a very materialistic one. She always wants something new – a new snuggly, toy, marker, book, dress, etc. It doesn’t take long before the shine wears off on that item and she wants something else. She is very attached to her things.
With that background, zoom into all the kids and I at the grocery store on Saturday morning. We were picking up a few last-minute ingredients and staples in preparation for a visit from the relatives that afternoon.
We were grabbing milk and almost done shopping when Child #2 looks up at me and asks how the alarms work at the store. Instantly on alert, I drop down to her eye level and ask gently why she wants to know. She shows me a gold-leaf brooch covered in little (cubic zirconium) diamonds. I assured her that there are no alarms for something like that at our grocery store and asked where she found it. She told me she saw it between some boxes in another aisle and said she wanted to keep it because it was “very pretty.”
Taking a deep breath, I told her that she could decide what to do with it – that she could keep it or she could turn it in to the lost & found. I pointed out that if she had lost such a pretty item, she would want someone to turn it in so she could get it back, but that she could decide for herself what to do.
A few minutes later at the checkout counter, she slowly handed me the brooch and said that she really liked it and wanted to keep it, but she would turn it in. After taking a moment to hug her and praise her, I let the checkout know about my daughter finding it. I also asked that if no one claimed in after two weeks that my daughter be able to come back and retrieve it. The checkout woman took down my daughter’s name and our phone number.
I was so proud of her. As a parent, we try very hard to instill in the kids a sense of right and wrong in our actions. Many times I have noticed when I was given extra change and given it back or hauled all the kids back to a store to pay for an item that wasn’t listed on a receipt. Each time, I pointed out to the children why we were doing what we were doing – it is easy to keep what isn’t ours. I took a chance when I let it be up to my daughter what she would do with the found item. I wasn’t sure she would turn it in. I pleased she did.
Several hours later, the grocery store manager called for my daughter. The brooch belonged to her – the manager – and she was calling to thank my daughter for turning it in.