Morality, Age 3

I turned away from putting Amelie in her (forward facing, she’s such a big girl) carseat, when I saw the clenched hand hidden in the folds of her dress.  “Lia,” I said, “what’s in your hand?”

After a brief inner struggle, the hand opened to reveal a pack of gum.  A pack of gum that we had NOT paid for when checking out at the grocery store.

I had to explain to her what stealing is.  Imagine not knowing what stealing is.  She does, however, know very well what sneaking is, so we had a vivid point of reference in which to begin what Janeen calls a “Come to Jesus Talk”.

Back in we went, where she gave the gum back to the cashier.  “I’m sorry for stealing.”  It was actually audible.

“Don’t do it again.”  It was nicely said, but serious.  I’m so glad that the cashier didn’t give her platitudes–“Oh, that’s okay, honey.”  Or “Thank you for bringing it back.”  Just a simple, but direct, “Don’t do it again.”

I think I need to start reading books on moral development.


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