A couple of weeks ago my son’s jacket was stolen at school. I didn’t give this as much attention as I should have. It was an old jacket with a broken zipper, something I knew would need to be replaced soon anyway. I know some of you are shaking your heads at me thinking “zippers can be replaced”, and “an old jacket is as good as a new jacket as long as it still fits”, and your right. But that’s not the point of this story…
At the time when he told me, I didn’t really believe it had been stolen. Because he said it had “disappeared”, I figured he had left it in the gym locker and would find it the next day. But as days and weeks went by, he still had not found it.
Last night he confessed to me that when the jacket disappeared, it had his Nintendo DS video game system in the pocket. He expected quite a lecture about this. I had told him many times that if he took it to school, someone might steal it. I had warned him I would not replace it, and he would have to do so himself if it was taken. As he confessed the loss of the game with the jacket, he immediately followed it up with a restatement of all the above things I just mentioned.
I wish he would have told me sooner. But I have been in his position and know how he must have agonized over keeping it a secret all this time. In fact, he confessed it to me after I told him a financial secret of my own. I didn’t lecture or say ‘I told you so’. He had already learned his lesson the hard way. He had accepted that he would be without it until he could replace it himself. I felt that showed maturity and I respected it, especially from a 12-year-old.
As is common with siblings, he didn’t want his sister to know. She would have lectured and hassled him over it time and again. I felt bad knowing that at his age, he doesn’t have many money making opportunities, and it would take time for him to earn the money. I considered offering to pay half if he saved up the other half.
LIFE LESSONS LEARNED
As an adult, it is not easy to wait for things I want and save for the things I need. But how much harder is it if you never learn that lesson, until you’re an adult. Maybe this experience is a catalyst for a life lesson that may save him in the future. If he learns to work for things he wants; to take better care of the valuable things he has; and to heed warnings when they are given; then his life may be far less turbulent and full of financial pitfalls than his mother’s has been.
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