Hand in the Cookie Jar

Every day, all day we are faced with decisions which shape our character.  As we raise our children, what we do far out weighs what we say.  If we say don't steal, and we sneak a pastry in our bag at a buffet, we show them that there are situations where it is ok to steal.

Thou shalt not steal.

Exodus 20:15

Recently my 9 year old daughter was caught by her older sister stealing candy she received for graduation.  She sent me a text infuriated at her, again, for going in her room and pilfering her bag.  I explained to her that I would make her whole again and to not yell at her.  I would take care of it.  When I got home I pulled her aside and asked her if she did it and I knew she did by her reaction.  I gave her a time out and she was made to buy her another bag of Skittles.  Feeling bad, she also bought her younger sister a bag too.  I felt bad she did it, but I felt good she owned up to it and made her sister whole again.  My wife and I have tried to set a good example to them since they were very young.  If we can't afford it, we can't have it.  Sometimes it is never, sometimes it is later.  It is never just take what you want if you can get away with it.

I can remember back a few years going to a favorite spot on the Colorado river.  On off days it operates by the honor system.  You have to place cash in an envelope and place it in a steel lock box.  One day when we arrived, I had forgot to get cash.  There was nobody there that day except us.  I could have just parked, launched our boat and went about our day.  What I did though, was take the opportunity to show my kids how we should act when nobody is watching.  I parked the truck, launched the boat, then drove to a gas station, bought some ice, returned and paid the fee.  

The eyes of the LORD are in every place, beholding the evil and the good.

Proverbs 15:3

Next time you are faced with a decision like this, take the opportunity to shape your kids into men and women of character.  In the long run it will pay off a hundred fold.

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