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 deja vu, too.