Our parents have a bigger factor in what we are like later in life than some people give them credit for. I am writing this blog in honor of my mom on this Mother's Day weekend. I can thank her for teaching me the value of integrity. A story from my childhood sums it up.
I grew up in a small town and my brothers and I used to walk to a small grocery store to buy penny candy. We would be given a quarter or so and could get a small bag of candy to enjoy as a special treat. Back in the sixties, kids used to check the coin return of pay phones, vending machines, etc., to see if we could find some change that a person left when they were in a hurry. This particular day, I was a typical kid.
I was at the store and had bought my candy. As I was leaving, I checked the change return on the soda machine and did not find any money. I also pushed the buttons for the sodas and to my surprise, I hit the jackpot. A soda came out. I proceeded to drink it on the way home.
When I got home, my mom, knowing how much money she had given me, asked me how I got the soda as well as the candy. I explained that I just hit the button and it came out. She told me that it was wrong because it was not paid for. I smartly told her that someone had paid for it, but it came out when I hit the button. I did not see anything wrong with that.
Wrong answer. She taught me a lesson that day. She told me that I did not pay for the drink so it was like I stole it. She gave me the money to buy the drink and told me to go to the store clerk and pay for it. I walked up to the store and told the clerk what had happened. The clerk thanked me for my honesty, and told me that I did not have to pay for it. I told the person that they had to take my money. I was not going to go home and have mom find out that I still had the money.
This teaching moment from my mom stuck with me. We have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our children. They are paying attention to how we handle situations. We set the standards that they will live by for the rest of their lives. Do not take this responsibility too lightly. Teach your kids about integrity.
Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms reading this. You mean the world to us. Thank you!