Last Thursday, I read the news about a mother in Colombia who took her own son to the authorities, after she watched him on a Twitter video vandalizing the city’s public transportation system.
Besides the betrayal of seeing her son become a juvenile delinquent, the single mother had to pay fines, equivalent to a month’s work.
When I read the story I felt pure admiration for that woman. I truly hope her son values what she did for him: saving his life. Perhaps not from immediate death, but from a life of crime that would have wasted the rest of his days.
Three months ago I had a similar experience minus the police. We were celebrating my son’s seventh birthday at the park in our community. My son invited his best buddies to a Nerf battle theme party and each guest received a new gun as a party favor.
The kids ran wild inciting the other kids who were in the park to join the game. A few minutes later, my son and his guests were sharing his new party favors with all the kids, including a few teenagers. I even invited them to eat pizza and cupcakes because we had leftovers.
At the end of the party, I realized that three of my son’s guests didn’t have their Nerf guns, and although we searched the park we couldn’t find them. Pissed off I wrote a message in the neighborhood Nextdoor app describing what had occurred.
The next morning, around 9:00 a.m., the doorbell rang and when my husband opened the door found an ashamed twelve-year-old with his father returning the gun he took without permission.
A couple of hours later, another dad sent me a private message explaining that the situation was a misunderstanding and brought his son to apologize. The third Nerf gun was never returned.
This situation provided us with a perfect teaching moment for our son. He didn’t do anything wrong, but he sure as hell got a good picture of the consequences if he ever dare to do the same.
There is no greater love than that of a parent who teaches his son or daughter to be accountable after a dishonorable act. Nobody is perfect and we all human make mistakes. It is a fundamental piece in the growing up process, especially in children and teenagers who are in their formative years.
However, if instead of teaching a lesson a parent justifies the fault and sweeps the evidence under the rug, he or she is teaching the kid that rules and laws are made to be broken rather than obeyed.
In Colombia, we have a saying that can translate as “A lesson with blood stains,” meaning there is no better way to learn and remember something than personal pain. Without a doubt, I choose to teach my son a hard lesson early on and nurture his character instead of regretting a lifetime of disgrace.
Thanks for reading and sharing.
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