Turning problems into real life learning

Stealing Children
Photo Credit: D. Sharon Pruitt

This incident caught J off guard.

Sad but true, she’s beginning to see the “real” world and it is not as “nice” as she used to think.

You see I would never have thought this would happen to J who is one year short of 10. To top it off, this shouldn’t have happened in school.

Just last Wednesday, someone stole J’s pocket money. The main cause is she left the lunch box (with purse inside) unattended as she had to do her duties as a librarian during recess.

There’s a reason why she left it in the canteen: The teacher told her lunch boxes were not allowed in the library.

Being an obedient student she is, she did exactly that.

And she didn’t realize that she needed to ask someone to look after her lunch box while she fulfilled her very first day of duty.

With all these reasons combined, it ended up that a naughty student – taking advantage of the unwatched treasure – not only stole the money but also her Barbie wallet and Hello Kitty coin purse.

J only discovered this the following day and told me about the missing cash.

With my nature of short temperament, I tried to contained my fury. I knew it didn’t help at all if I let loose.

I could have given her the lecture of the year.

But I didn’t.

(I admit I tried very hard not to explode.)

Instead I did my best (I could have done better) to turn around the unhappy incident into a real life learning opportunity for J.

I asked her about the lessons she learned from the incident.

I even told her she had the right to question the validity of the so-called “rules” told to her by the teachers.

In this case, the ruling of no lunch boxes are allowed in the library doesn’t make sense if you just bring it in but not having food in the library. Putting the lunch box somewhere in the library while doing the duty should be allowed. Otherwise, who is going to take care of your belongings.

I encouraged her to challenge the authority (me included) if she had a strong point.

I also took this opportunity to teach J stealing was wrong. This is a powerful lesson because she felt the pains the young thief had caused her. That will stop her from stealing, hopefully. Or at least make her think twice before she attempts stealing in the future.

The stealing baffles me because it happened in school and the oldest students in the afternoon session are only 9 years old.

We can’t be too careful these days as I feel that honest people are hard to come by. That also tells us that kids must not let the guards down no matter where they are.

P.S. I’ll be launching my new book “The Uncensored Guide to Parenting” soon.

The first draft is almost ready. After I add in some new articles, do final editing, and make final touches, the book is ready to be launched.

Do watch out for it.

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