Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Everybody, Give Yourself a Pat on the Back

We had a shocking perspective shift over the weekend.  While at a municipal lakefront park, a woman tried to use her toddler to steal my wife's purse.  Lorin was sunbathing nearby but hidden from the woman's view.  She clearly heard the woman directing the child to pick up not her tote bag, but the smaller purse next to it, and bring it to her. 
"Dis one?"

"No, the little one." 

"Dis one?"

"Yeah.  Bring it here, sweetie."

At that point, Lorin revealed herself and claimed her purse.  The woman covered by pretending she hadn't noticed.  "Oh, that's not yours, sweetie.  Go get your frisbee."

With no way to prove that any of this had happened, Lorin had to content herself with shooting the woman a dirty look and moving her belongings to a safer spot. 

We talked about the episode the whole way home.  There's a pretty decent chance that the woman could have lost custody of her child if we'd had more than one witness.  It was shocking to think somebody would risk such a consequence for just a purse - life must be bitterly hard for her to even consider it.  But it was even more shocking to imagine the life trajectory of a toddler who is being taught to steal before he's out of diapers.  Where is that kid going to end up in ten, in twenty years?  If he stays out of jail long enough to reproduce, what will he teach his own children?

The world is full of good parents who try hard.  A lot of us beat ourselves up over the unavoidable little mistakes we make as parents.  Well, let's all take a moment to reflect on the lessons of this episode:

Let's all thank Mom & Dad for raising us right.

You may not be perfect, but if you care enough to read parenting blogs, you're a pretty darned good parent and should take the time to remind yourself of this when you're feeling low.

Poverty and addiction are powerful forces.  We should all be thankful we're shielded from their influence, and give to the organizations that work to address these problems in our communities.

And finally, keep an eye on your stuff.  You wouldn't believe what some people will do for a few bucks.
Am I missing anything?  What other lessons do you see in this experience?

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