Yesterday, my husband got an email from Richelle's teacher. It said that Richelle had bought some items (four pencils and a journal) from the school store, and when asked where she got the money, she finally told the teacher that she took it from home without us knowing it... that it had been her father's money. Her teacher had a discussion with Richelle about stealing.
I thought something was up that morning when she took her back pack upstairs and was holding a small purse of hers (that had been filled with coins - we knew she'd taken it from Roy's can of coins he has, but weren't worried about it at that time). I didn't pay it any real attention, just kind of made a mental note of it. I went about my business while urging them to get ready to go out to the bus.
Then the email. When she got home, she started taking things out of her backpack, and then got a furtive look on her face, and held her backpack tight to her while she said she was going upstairs. I asked that she give me her backpack, which she was reluctant to do.
I pulled out the purse full of coins. I asked her if she bought anything today, and she said yes. When pressed for what, she showed me two pencils. I told her that her teacher had emailed us and told us it was more than that. She admitted that she bought two more pencils and a journal. I asked to see it... and she said she gave it to one of her friends at school.
There were tears welling up in her eyes at this point. I asked why she would give it to her friend, and Richelle explained that she only had one page left in her journal and she wanted to give her another one. And she wanted to give her a couple of pencils. This is her friend, after all.
My heart went out to her, but I had to go on. I told her to come upstairs with me. She began crying in earnest at this point.
We went to the living room couch and I put her on my lap. She was nothing but a puddle of tears - so Kenzie and I removed her shoes and I held her. I told her it wasn't her job to buy things that the kids need for school, and she shouldn't have sneaked out money to do so. If she needed something or wanted something, she should ask us, not take money that wasn't hers.
She said she didn't want us to know about it. I told her that's exactly how sneaking and lying are - doing something you don't want someone to know about. From now on she was to talk to us about it.
She really is trying to be a good kid - but she gets some things wrong once in a while... and her intentions (if her explanation was really what happened) were good, if not misguided a bit. She always has had a good heart.
Roy is still punishing her... three days without any TV. I told Roy that perhaps what we should be doing after this is having the kids do chores and paying them an allowance. That way, they would feel they have some control over things they want. And we could use it to teach them to save a little, put some aside for charity, and then they would have some for spending any way they want to. It will be good to try and instill good money habits now while they are young, rather than them trying to figure it out when they get older.
To be continued.