My oldest daughter Sage is usually the most straight and narrow of my three children. She has always done everything by the book and normally does not question authority or cause problems. So imagine my shock the other day when I found out that she stole from my work.
Sage is seven. We named her aptly because she seems to have wisdom beyond her years. Her goal is to please people and make them smile. I overheard her and her sister talking about gum in the car on our way home. When I asked them where they got gum from, Sage responded, “I do not want to tell you. You’ll be mad.” Of course, I made her tell and she admitted she stole it.
Recently, I was with a friend who told me that her daughter stole from a store. As she recounted the story, her and her daughter were both laughing about it. I did not want Sage to think this was cute or funny.
First, I called my boss and apologized. She said that if we were closer to the store a good idea might be having a police officer come talk to her. The point is to put “fear” into them in a good way that teaches a lesson. Just as we are to fear God and to revere His commandments in our lives, our children must do the same.
“Thou shalt not steal” is the eighth commandment God gave Moses for us to follow, as recorded in Exodus 20.
When we arrived home, I had Sage write an apology letter. It was absolutely adorable and full of those cute childlike errors that I love, such as spelling “stole” as “stool”. Still, I did not allow her to think that she was getting positive attention in any way for her misdeed.
Then, I had her pick up around the house to earn money for the gum and also to give to a charity we are collecting for at work. I wanted her to see that it is better to give than take. She felt very guilty as I explained everything must be paid for when it is from a store, that you must never just take something without permission. I also explained that this action would hurt my boss whom Sage loves very much. That was the part that effected her the most; Sage is so sensitive to the feelings of those she loves.
We drove to the store the next day and she dropped off her apology note and paid for the gum. I was very proud of her. She seemed to understand her mistake; and the way she owned up to it was admirable. She did not argue. She humbly admitted she was wrong and asked for forgiveness.
At the bottom of her note it said, “My heart is broke.”
This really got to me. How often do we as adults break a commandment and end up with a broken heart? These laws are not just for us to follow because God wants to limit us; they are in place for our own good.
While some seem more minor, each can lead to heartbreak and problems. God wants us to live joyous and peaceful lives. Following His commandments will help us achieve that.
Later, I realized that perhaps it is time for another lesson on the Ten Commandments. Now, a plan is set in place to tackle a commandment each day and do a lesson on it with my children.
I am going to create a tutorial around each one for them, which I will outline in next week’s blog post. I would love to hear your ideas as well!