I grew up in a small town of 1000 people where everyone knew everyone. One day when I was a young girl, I stole a toy from a department store there. I can’t even remember why I stole it, but, nevertheless, I did. When I told my mom later, she didn’t punish me, other than to say, “Don’t do it again.”
Shortly after, I was at the same department store shopping for a coloring book and colors. I realized that I didn’t have enough money for both, and I had to make a decision. Then, I remembered that my mom “let me get away” with stealing the last time, so why not just steal again? I bought the coloring book, and then walked back into the store, slipped the box of colors into my sack, and quickly walked back out. All the way home (which was only a block), I was chuckling to myself about how easy this was. I had no idea what was about to happen. When I got home, I told my mom (laughingly) what I had done, expecting the same response that she gave the last time. However, I was so wrong. This time, she had a different response, and I wasn’t prepared for it. If she had only disciplined me at home, I could have stood that. But, my mom drove me back to the store, made me give the colors back to the cashier (who was a good friend of my mom’s), tell her what I had done, and ask forgiveness. That was the most painful punishment my mom could have given me. At the time, I didn’t understand how a loving mother could do that to her child. But I look back at that day as a turning point in my life. From that day on, I have never had the desire to steal anything. My mom’s discipline made a lasting impact in my life. She has told me many times that it hurt her much more than it hurt me. I am grateful that she loved me enough to discipline me in such a way that I would not repeat the act of stealing ever again.