I then took the story and decided it would be a great teaching moment for my own son, so long as I left out any and all names. After all, it’s not my place to spread the details of specific people’s shortcomings. That’s when it becomes gossip, I suppose.
Now, don’t ask me why I felt the need to use the $20 thievery as a lesson.
Maybe it’s because Noah doesn’t have any siblings in this home. I mean, aren’t some of the greatest lessons learned watching your brothers and sisters get busted? Don’t the greatest moments of satisfaction as a child come from watching them get it handed to them, knowing that you are “the good kid” in your parents eyes, at least in that moment? Don’t parents in general get to use the big lessons of one kid to teach all of their other kids?
So yeah, my kid doesn’t have any siblings in this home, so I had to borrow one.
And I told Noah. “Guess what. One of your cousins stole twenty dollars off of the table by his mom’s bed and he got in big trouble.” We’d never had a good chance to talk about stealing because as far as I know he’s never done it. I’d never had the chance to put the fear of the law, the fear of dad, and the fear of all thieving things into him.
Let me remind you that this was two months ago.
As soon as I said it, he was desperate to know whodunit. He didn’t care one lick about the lesson to be learned, the consequences the perpetrator received, or what drives people to steal in the first place. He HAD TO KNOW RIGHT THEN who it was!
I told him I wouldn’t tell because it wasn’t my place. Dammit, if he wasn’t going to learn a lesson about stealing, he was going to learn a lesson about gossiping.
This made him even more desperate.
I reassured him that no matter what he did, said, or offered, I would never ever tell him. Ever. “That wouldn’t be right,” I let him know.
This all took place on a car ride home. By the time I pulled into our carport, Noah had offered me the following if I would tell him who it was:
He promised he would never tell anyone. EVER.
He promised to clean his room when we got home.
He promised to clean the whole house when we got home.
He promised he would never lie to me again as long as he lived.
He promised he would give me all of his toys.
He promised me any and all money that he got for his upcoming birthday.
He willingly agreed to give up his iPad (his favorite time waster) for one month.
Then two months.
Then a year.
Then he said he’d just straight-up give it to me and never play it again…
IF ONLY I’D TELL HIM WHO IT WAS!