Teaching a Child Not to Steal

My old car stereo doesn't work too good anymore, but it still works for AM - and I've been listening to Michael Josephson's commentary on ethics while driving to and from work.

This one is from a while ago, but it's a goodie. Here's a story that someone told him about stealing:

More than 50 years ago, when I was five, I was at my granddaddy's house in a dress and white gloves. He told me I could go into the kitchen and get a cookie. Next to the cookie jar was a stack of quarters. I knew I shouldn't have, but I took one.

I must have looked guilty when I returned because my granddaddy looked at me funny and asked me to show him my white gloves. I had the quarter in my right hand so I held out my left.

"Show me the other hand," he said. When he saw the quarter, he looked at me sadly.

He hugged me and said, "Darlin', you can have anything in the world I have, but it breaks my heart that you'd ever steal it."

I'll never forget the shame, and I never stole anything again.

Michael has a pretty good commentary on why the grandfather's approach worked better in instilling the sense of right and wrong in the then-little girl: Link


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Almost all children at least once have tried to steal something.preventing children from stealing may has to be taken up by parents.Every now and then parents should speak with their children about moral themes, recall commandments, one of which says that stealing is a guilt. Child teaching is right when parents explain in details what is bad or good.
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Shaming, if done right, goes a long way toward instilling a sense of right and wrong, which is what the grandfather in this story did effectively.
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I'm not sure about the "i'm disappointed in you" tack. Seems like it could just send a message that the kid is deficient, rather than in charge of being a force of good in the world based on her own sense of responsibility. To do no wrong because others might shame you does not seem like the right strategy.
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@HollywoodRooney: I'd admit I was getting paid more than I was worth if rent weren't so goddamned high. But such is not the case and I'd like a raise.
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