I have a couple of stories about that. First I went to the bank and the lady was counting out my “cash back” I noticed that one of the 20’s was actually a 50. The thought ran through my head – I could take my son and my self out to a really good lunch or dinner. I looked at my son and he hadn’t noticed. He must have been 6 or 7. I looked at him and I looked at the pile of money. Before I even touched it I called her attention to it. She was pleased. My son said “Mom, you should have kept quite!” seeing the chance for a life lesson. I explained that while the money would have been nice for a while. That lady might have lost her job. Or at the very least faced a boss that was belittling. I asked him if he would want someone to mention it if it was his mistake. I let him think about it for a while. He smiled and said “No, you did the right thing!” And the angels sang!!
You get many chances to teach your children how to be honorable. We had attended a church and they were having a “blanket” drive for the homeless. I went to our local discount store and purchased two blankest and some mittens and hats.
I am a chatty sort of person, I know shocking. When I got to the car it dawned on me that the price was much lower than it should have been. I looked at the register tape and saw that they had only charged me for one blanket. My son and I walked back in and went to the customer service desk. I put the bag on the counter and said “Something is wrong here.”
The lady behind the counter looked and said “I am sorry maam, what seems to be wrong?” I pointed out that I had two blankets and had only been charged for one. “You, want me to charge you for the other blanket?” Her tone made it sound like I had developed some sort of deformity right before her eyes.
“Yes, maam I do.” When we got back to the car Peter asked “Mom, we are just going to be giving them away. Why cause a fuss.” My heart broke.
“Peter, where do you draw the line between doing the right thing? It’s OK because the store will never miss it? Even donating it doesn’t make it right. Doing what you know is right is more important than any amount of money.”
The ethical person knows that stealing is wrong, the moral person just wouldn’t do it.
He sat for a while and finally said “You, did good Mom!” And the angels sang again!
I try to instill in him that doing right because someone is watching is as wrong and doing the wrong thing. He is 24 now I know he has grown into a good man. I just hope I had a hand in that! Teach your children well.