People suck, well I guess I shouldn’t generalize, thieves suck. Flashback to 3 years ago my oldest son who was 11 at the time had something to tell me. His 4 week old Nike gym shoes went missing in the locker room during gym class. He spoke with his gym teacher, who suggested he check the lost and found. He did with no luck. I was upset with the fact that a new $50 pair of running sneakers just went out the window. After thinking about it for awhile I recalled my time in middle school and leaving a jacket in the locker room which was never to be seen again. My parents didn’t get mad at me they used it as a teachable moment to remind me to be responsible for my things. I never left things behind again. I spoke with my son again and explained that I wasn’t mad at him, that he needed to take care of his stuff. Mistakes will happen and material items can be replaced, but when he is at school he and only he can control what happens to his things. I’m not there to help him. He understood and will be wearing his old pair of sneakers for the time being, until a new pair can be worked into the budget. A nice little reminder that my wife and I still have a lot to teach our children about, and real life examples like losing a pair of shoe is a great why to do it.
Lightening Strikes Twice
My oldest son now 14 called me on my way home from work on Monday evening to inform me that his phone was stolen out of his backpack at school. Partly his fault as he left his backpack unattended for a few minutes in the locker room after football practice and when he returned the phone was gone. I walked him through suspending the account from the carrier’s web site. He has the phone locked with a pass code, so it doesn’t appear like any calls or downloads were made before it was disabled. It’s still frustrating for him now to be without a phone the lifeblood of most 14 years olds. My wife and I like him to have if so he can call or in most cases text us when staying after school and for him it’s his main means for staying in touch with friends. It’s a no contract phone, so we eat the cost of the phone which he has had for a bit so it’s not a big overall budget impact as a replacement with run about $100. We will wait a few days to see if the phone turns up. He did the right thing and informed his coaches that the phone was missing and they would look into it. I wanted to use this as one of those teachable moments, but difficult to make a 14 year old understand the fine line between not leaving your stuff unattended in a locker room and not trusting anyone. How do I make him understand that teammates that should have his back may say one thing and do another? What I decided on was if you want to keep your stuff, you need to keep it locked up or with you at all times.
I admit my son needs to do a better job of keeping an eye on his stuff or I could just ban him from locker rooms altogether. I have to question what type of other 11 and 14 years olds are around him. What environments do the live in or believe its okay just to take things from others. My children are no angels, but have never stolen anything. They understand if they did what the consciences would be. Again I don’t mean to generalize; I know there are plenty of good kids in school with my children, but 2 incidents in 3 years is to many for me.
How do you handle losing items of value? Would you fund replacement from your emergency fund? What advice would you give to children after one of their items was stolen?