My boys have the memories of elephants. The other day one of mine asked, “Is Wayne (fake name to protect the innocent, or guilty in this case) ever going to return my Pokemon?” Well, that came out of the blue.
The story began about five years ago. One of my boys met a child he liked, so I invited Wayne and his mum over for tea. Wayne got on swimmingly with my guys. When it was time to leave, one of my boys asked, “Wayne, can I have my Pokemon back?” Wayne said he didn’t have it. My son was sure he did, so continued, “Are you sure it’s not in your pocket?” Wayne said he had left it upstairs, and off they went. At this time, my boys were going through a bit of a Pokemon thing, and this toy was a favourite. They searched the house for days, but it didn’t show up.
A few days later I got an apologetic text from Wayne’s mum, “I was making Wayne’s bed, and hidden under the mattress was that Pokemon. I’m so sorry he took it. I will return it soon.” My boys were delighted it was located and would be returned, and I was delighted Wayne’s mum acknowledged his mistake and was going to teach Wayne right from wrong. Actions speak louder than words, and to teach our kids the right thing, we must do the right thing.
Well, that was five years ago. We haven’t seen the toy, or the family since. For a few weeks, my boys asked when they were getting it back. I would answer, “Soon,” because I believed it would be soon. After soon passed, they gave up asking.
When out of the blue one of my boys asked if Wayne is ever returning the toy, I had to say, no. I am sure Wayne’s mum was embarrassed by her son’s actions, and maybe she was too embarrassed to face us? But what does not returning the toy say to her son? Did she let him keep it? Was she too busy or too lazy to drive the ten minutes from her place to here? Or did she just forget? Life gets busy, and things get forgotten, I know that. I live that.
We all make mistakes. I hope Wayne’s mum’s mistake was the non returning of the toy, not the mistake of not teaching her son that taking things that don’t belong to you is stealing, and stealing is wrong.
The resurfacing of The Wayne Incident has given me a chance to talk to my boys about forgiveness and parenting. If my boys had taken something without permission, I would have marched them up to apologise. I still would. My boys know I am hard on them, but one day, I hope, they’ll thank me for it. It’s my responsibility as a parent to discipline, teach right from wrong, and teach by example. Now, to teach my boys not to be lazy… I need to get off my ass!!
So, if you were Wayne’s mum would you have brought him here to apologise to my boys, or would you dealt with him privately?