Wednesday, October 7, 2009

So, Did Linus Do The Right Thing?

After last week's post, many of you asked that I update you on what happened with Linus and his bad choices. I don't know how to talk about this without getting into specifics, so I'll just be sorta specific. So, here is what happened:

Linus and Charlie Brown had joined a club at school and Linus had stolen some supplies and brought them home. When he got home, Linus showed them to me and even said that the teacher had given them to him for no reason, just to be nice. So, stealing. Plus lying. And, he had given Charlie Brown some of the supplies as a bribe for him to stay quiet about the whole thing. Initially Charlie Brown had taken the bribe, but felt bad about it later that night and fessed up to me about the whole situation and admitted he didn't want the things because he knew it was wrong.

That night, I told Texan Papa what had transpired during the day. I assured him, though, that I'd handled it and we'd find out over the next couple of days what our son chose to do with his option of doing the right thing or doing the wrong thing.

The next morning, after I told Charlie Brown to talk to Linus about doing the "right thing", Linus decided he would try to side-step the "right thing". He would return some of the supplies but also return other stuff and keep some stuff for himself. Charlie Brown told him "you can't do that. The teacher is going to know that stuff wasn't the same stuff that was missing." Ultimately, the time came for everyone to leave for the bus and nothing got returned to school.

That afternoon, Texan Papa quizzed Linus about the supplies (knowing the truth the whole time) and said, "Something just doesn't seem right here..." Eventually Linus fessed up, through tears and a quiet voice. He ended up being punished with no computer time for that day, spending the rest of the evening in his room, returning the supplies to the school, apologizing to the teacher personally, and giving $5 of his money to the club for additional supplies.

Now, if it had been up to me, I would have simply made him quit the club. But Texan Papa didn't agree and thought it wouldn't be helpful for him to quit. Whatever... not a battle I'm fighting today. But, the truth was revealed and Charlie Brown didn't get sold out for telling. He (CB) did the right thing and I'm glad Linus didn't have to find out that his brother had spilled the beans.

So, sometimes our kids do the right thing. Sometimes, not so much. I have no idea what will happen the next time my kids are faced with the option of doing the right thing or the wrong thing. I'd like to believe they will choose wisely and use their brains as well as their character. But, in reality, we all slip up and we all make bad choices. And we learn from our bad choices. Sometimes, we learn better from our mistakes than we do our successes.

Linus is going to do a LOT of learning, I think.


Michelle said...

How old is Linus? FiFi is 6 and in 1st grade and having trouble with lying this past year. I remember B going through the phase but when you are in the midst of it it is difficult to choose apprioriate consequences to make sure they understand that lying is not acceptable!

Emily said...

My oldest is 5 and we've had to deal with lying a few times. It's so hard. I'm not even sure he totally gets the concept yet. Kudos for CB for doing the right thing! What a wonderful brother he is.

Lorie said...

It can be so hard to know exactly what the right thing to do it is, but I think the situation worked out well.

And I think it will be good for Linus to have to face the teacher in the club every week. Remind him that it feels icky to lie and steal.

I saw your blog on SITS and had to stop by because my family is moving to Texas in December and I am starting to be drawn to all things Texan!

S.E. Sward said...

I understand your impulse (or at least think I do) to have Linus quit the club after his little pilfering escapade, but I actually think it will be better in the long run if he has to think about what he did every time he goes to club events and sees his teacher. It won't be fun for him, but the hardest lessons never are. Hopefully, he will never steal and lie about it (as well as make his brother complicit!) again.

Stopping by from SITS to say hello!

junkfoodkids said...

I love these teaching moments they always learn the most from these. Way to go at embracing the one put in front of you. I am so glad you did not sell out Charlie brown. Great bonus.

Gabrielle Krake said...

Good job, mom & dad! I have four kids and one of them tends toward the concealment of things, but as he matures he has become a much more trustworthy guy. Not to mention, he also gets caught every time and that is a lesson in and of itself. :)

Foursons said...

Oooo, I think that punishment is perfect! It's much harder to face the people you stole from everyday then it would be to quit and pretend it never happened. Great job to both Mom and Dad! I have learned from y'all today!

Jennifer said...

And sometimes you just have to teach them how to do the right thing.... like you guys did. Try not to worry about it. It is all just a learning process. For the kids AND the parents. It's all good.

Wendy said...

Kevin Leman does parenting tapes, and I remember one of them where he said (paraphrasing):

"Say a prayer of thanks to God when your kids screw up. Be ever so grateful. Every mistake NOW is a lesson you can teach them, a mistake they won't have to learn later. The consequences get exponentially worse as they get older. Every lesson you are able to teach them NOW is a lesson they don't have to learn from life LATER - when the consequences could be the loss of a job, or a spouse, etc."

My Dolly has been through a lot of this. Once she took a dollar from her teacher's desk. And lied about it. And lied about it. And lied about it. One time when I was pretty darn sure she had done something & she resolutely wouldn't tell me the truth, I finally said very quietly, "Dolly, I was watching you. I saw you do it." THEN she was all, "I'M SO SORRY! I'M SORRY I LIED!" That was a huge risk to take, so I probably wouldn't do it again. It's an age thing, too. She is growing out of it - and the more we have separated the act from the lying with her punishments, the more likely she is to tell the truth.

My little brother is in college. He did nothing in high school, really good kid. Rarely in any kind of trouble with our dad at all. Then he went to college. I think my dad is going senile from the stress of his constant antics.

Better now than later. And it WILL happen eventually.

Anna See said...

i love that you didn't bail him out. it's so tempting to do.

Mary said...

Hi! Popping over from SITS Roll Call from earlier today to visit.

Sounds like Texan Papa did the right thing and I'd be willing to bet when the opportunity arises again, Linus will think about the consequences first!

Have a great Thursday!