Petty Theft Runs in the Family

When I was 7 or 8 I stole a pack­et of erasers from Mace’s Supermarket in Connersville, Indiana. I knew it was wrong, but I did it any­way. I got caught. I do not re­call the ex­act chain of events that there­by tran­spired, but I got hollered at by my mom, went to my dad’s work­place and got hollered at by him, was re­turned to Mace’s where I got hollered at by the store man­ag­er. I do not re­call if the po­lice were called, but I do re­mem­ber that the threat was there. I learned a les­son.

Today, my son took two pack­ets of Tic-Tacs from Giant Eagle. When I dis­cov­ered this, I felt tri­fur­cat­ed; like I was that lit­tle boy again, and like my mom must have felt deal­ing with that lit­tle boy’s malfea­sance, and al­so as my­self, at 35, be­ing both of those at the same time. We re­turned to the store, and I made him go to the ser­vice desk and ask to speak to the man­ag­er, and I made him fess up to the man­ag­er when he ar­rived. He got a lec­ture that I very much re­mem­ber get­ting.

His pun­ish­ment was los­ing all of his Halloween can­dy — if he feels the need to steal can­dy, he doesn’t de­serve can­dy that was giv­en to him. He was su­per up­set about that and felt more than a bit of re­morse — al­though it took him awhile to get there.

At one point he said that he knows he has “good deep down in­side me” and I told him that it doesn’t need to be deep down in­side, he should let that good fill him and flow out of him, so that he can be a good per­son to every­one.

We’ll see how it goes. Parenting is full of sur­pris­es — and déjà vu, too.