Monday, July 30, 2012

Stealing - Parenting Plights & Delights


This is a sweet story my Aunt Walda, who goes by the nickname Sam, shared with me. It's from her childhood and offers some valuable lessons for us:

"When I was in third grade, I was taught by the most dear and gentle nun. It was obvious that Sister Saint Hubert should have retired years before, but she was still patient and kind when dealing with her class of seven- and eight-year-olds. 
Little Walda as a school girl


"One day, giving in to temptation, I took a quarter from Shirley's desk and dropped it into my pocket. In the school year 1947/48, a quarter had a bit more value than it does now. Especially to a third grader. Sister made a plea to the class stating that Shirley needed her quarter for the streetcar fare home. 


"My conscience being pricked, I stood up. Sister didn't let me say anything, but took me by the arm into the coat room. There were no words exchanged. I handed her the quarter and began to cry. She took me in her arms and held me for a few minutes. 


"Then she exited the coat room and shouted back to me so that the class could hear, 'Walda, please straighten up the coats for me.' 


"She then told the class, "Walda said Shirley can have her quarter.'


"I still fill up with tears when I remember that incident, and I'm wiping tears from my eyes as I type this. Never underestimate your little acts of love, kindness, understanding, and forgiveness can have upon a young heart. I'm sure Sister Saint Hubert is enjoying her reward in heaven today."

I don't know about you, but my aunt's story makes teary-eyed every time I read it. Such an important lesson learned about stealing and also how a kind person can steal our hearts and leave an everlasting impression.

Did you ever steal when you were a child? If so, did you get caught and get in trouble? Parents, have you had to deal with this with your own children? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

(A version of this story originally appeared in the Highland Community News in December 1999.)


14 comments:

Old Kitty said...

Awww what a sweet loving story. Yay for sister Hubert!

Oh I think I tried to steal a pound note (before they became coins) from my mum but returned it asap for the guilt I felt!! Take care
x

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That nun did a wonderful thing!

Melissa Sugar said...

What a tender story. I stole a pack of bubble gum from a pack a sack when I was about eight. My mom made me take it back inside and the clerk told me that every time kids or adults (i suppose) stole from the store , her paycheck was docked for that amount. My experience was nothing like Aunt Walda, but the learning experience was the same.

Christina Farley said...

Very sweet story. I wasn't a stealer but I thought about stealing candy on more than one occasion! I have a sweet tooth.

LynNerdKelley said...

Old Kitty - You were an awesome kid for realizing on your own that it was wrong and making things right! I had to get caught and learn the hard way! :( Stole a nickel from my mom's purse and she noticed. Wow, she gave me a good, stern scolding, and I never did that again! :)

Alex - I know. Isn't it amazing how a random act of kindness can go a long, long way? Here is it decades later, and that one kind act lives on, and now it will be out there in the blogosphere for lots of people to be touched and learn from it, share it with their kids so they don't have to learn the hard way, or who knows!

What's really bizarre and blows my mind is that my aunt had no idea I planned to publish this post. I'm so glad I saved the newspaper clipping from 1999. After I published the post, I was checking my FB wall, and I noticed she had add some pictures three hours prior, and they showed up on my wall, so I snagged the pic and added it to the post. I love it when those 'coincidences' happen!

Melissa - Oh, wow, Melissa, thank you for sharing your experience. That clerk was very wise. I sure hope he didn't really get docked. :( Your mom did the right thing. Yay for awesome mothers!

Christina - That's pretty good self control for a child. Good for you not giving in to temptation!

Patricia Rickrode w/a Jansen Schmidt said...

That is a very sweet story. Sister Saint Hubert was one sharp cookie. Handled very nicely.

And you look like your sweet aunt.

Paricia Rickrode
w/a Jansen Schmidt

alarnarosegray said...

Hi Lynn, gorgeous story! Sister Saint Hubert had such grace :)

I have a story - not so much stealing, but close enough. In Grade 1 I tried to forge my teacher's initials with a red texta, so I didn't have to wait to go on with my next workbook. Such a nerd!

Anyway, the most humiliating bit was having to beg forgiveness on my knees that night, in front of my sister! Learned my lesson, though - never did try to forge anyone's signature again ;)

Sam said...

Thank you for sharing this Lynn. Sister St. Hubert's love, mercy and kindness should live on and you made it so. She was one beautiful lady who practiced what she preached.

Coleen Patrick said...

Such a sweet story Lynn. I remember taking some candy at the register while sitting in the shopping cart. I don't remember if I knew at the time what I was doing was wrong, but I sure figured it out later when my mom marched me back in to apologize!

Melissa Bowersock said...

Great story! Love it!

TeresaR said...

That was one of the most heart-warming stories I've ever read! Thank you and your aunt for sharing it.

If only all the nuns who taught me when I was growing up were as nice as Sr. Saint Hubert. :)

Ruth Schiffmann said...

What a wonderful story. Thanks so much for sharing it, Lynn.

cleemckenzie said...

Great story. And, yes, I did steal something once. I stole a bunch of grapes from the grocery store. Before I could eat the evidence my mom marched me back inside and made admit my crime, the pay for those grapes from my future (and I'll add) pathetic allowance.

End of my crime spree!

DMS said...

What a beautiful story. Thank goodness your aunt had such a kind teacher! I loved the way the situation was handled. I can't think of a time when I stole something- but my brain is tired right now, so I could be wrong. :)
~Jess