Conflicted Over a Crime

1 Oct

Nia recently witnessed a crime. She told me about it very casually as I tucked her in for bedtime. In between her prayers and happy thoughts we talk about so she has sweet dreams, she said:

“I saw someone steal a toothbrush today at the grocery store. A dad took it out of the wrapper and gave the wrapper to his little girl to throw away and then he put the toothbrush in his pants.”

She told me she heard the rip of the wrapper and that’s what got her attention to look that way. I was right there with her but I didn’t notice it. I probably was deep in thought comparing bread ingredients or some such grocery store necessity. She said she’s not sure why she didn’t point it out to me or tell me then.

I’m really surprised about that too. She always tells me all sorts of things. Things I don’t necessarily want to know about what her friends say and do and everything her little brother does to annoy her. The time she should speak up to me, for whatever reason, she doesn’t. I’m actually not even sure what I would’ve done had she told me at the time.

Would I confront him? Unlikely. I’m not the confronting strangers type. Would I tell the grocery store employees? I should, right? They are stealing. But then I think of the little girl. Do I want to cause her any more trouble or hardship than she already may be experiencing? Also, it’s just a toothbrush. Maybe the dad’s mad at the high prices and is making a point? Still doesn’t make it right though… What would you do? Would you confront or report?

I talked to Nia about it, in case it ever happens again. She knows that taking something that isn’t yours – or that you haven’t paid for – is wrong. We also talked about some things that may cause people to steal and how I can sometimes understand why someone in a desperate circumstance would feel they have no other choice. That starts getting confusing for an 8-year-old. Especially one who just watched a little girl about her age have to do as her daddy said and help him steal.

My little girl witnessed a crime but what’s more sad to me is that another little girl was involved in one.

 

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One Response to “Conflicted Over a Crime”

  1. Joe October 1, 2011 at 9:37 am #

    Nicole this is really hard…But talking about it is really what I think is the right thing to do. My personal belief system doesn’t favor situational ethics, so I would have perhaps done it differently. But, with that said, You did take the opportunity to teach your daughter another example of right and wrong..and allow her to reach her own conclusions. And that is what are role as parents is supposed to be. As our children grow up it can become harder and harder to keep communication that open..Kirk is 16 and sometimes so difficult to get a read on! And doing the right thing is very often the hardest thing!

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