When I was younger, probably Char's age, I walked out of a convenience store with a box of candy I didn't pay for.
I was brought back to the store, probably crying, upset, scared and made to give the candy back or pay for it. I can't recall all the details but I do remember it happened!
That incident did not prepare me for the day my own daughter would do the same thing.
While loading groceries into the trunk, I noticed Charlotte crying. After asking her what was wrong she told me she forgot to put something back and held out her hand revealing a small bottle of lotion from the checkout lane.
My first reaction was frustration, it was almost 100 degrees outside, I had cold groceries in the hot trunk and I'm ready to leave!
My second reaction was empathy. Her poor little tear stained face told me she was sorry, I felt for her.
I finished loading the groceries, got down and told her that it is not alright to take things without paying for them and since she took it, she would have to return it herself.
We went back into the store, I stood along the wall while she found the checkout lane and gave the lotion back.
I'm proud of her for taking responsibility of her actions, telling me she made a mistake and fixing it.
She learned a lesson that day and I hope when the time comes, she'll remember and empathize with her own children just as I did with her.