Early morning sunlight streamed through the kitchen window spilling bright warm rays across the breakfast table. It was Saturday and it was Pancake Day. Halfway through their family’s weekend pancake feast Sally’s mother said, “I need to go into town to run a few errands; Sally would you like to come with me?”
Grinning Sally nodded her head chewing vigorously before swallowing her pancake. Swiping her sticky mouth with a pajama sleeve Sally pleaded, “Mom… can we please look for my purple sweater?”
“First of all young lady, use your napkin to wipe your mouth!”
“Sorry Mom…” Head bowed Sally persisted, Mom…please?”
Sally’s Mom rolled her eyes shaking her head slowly back and forth an exasperated sigh escaped her lips before she glanced across the table to meet the eyes of Sally’s Dad.
Her parents shared a smile and a knowing look before turning their attention back to Sally who sat beseeching her parents using a wide-eyed stare nervously chewing her lower lip and holding her breath.
“Alright Sally, we’ll look for your purple sweater said her Mom. Now, finish your breakfast.”
Several hours later Sally stood in front of a mirror admiring her reflection, “How about this one Mom? It’s perfect!”
“Sally, I like the sweater but I don’t like the price. I want to check a couple of other stores to see if we can find one that’s not quite so expensive.”
“Why? This one is perfect Mom!”
“Sally, you’re in a growth spurt and I really don’t want to spend that much on a sweater you may only wear a few times. Now…go put the sweater back and put your coat on. I want to talk to Mrs. Smith for a minute. I’ll meet you at the check-out counter.”
Sally sat stone faced staring out the car window on the ride home refusing to be drawn into any kind of conversation. “Sally, we’ll look again in a day or two, today just wasn’t the day to find your purple sweater.”
“How did the shopping go girls?” innocently asked Sally’s father when they arrived home.
“Not well, dear. Sally found a purple sweater but it was a little pricey. She wasn’t happy when I said…No!”
“Oh…” said Sally’s father watching Sally disappear up the stairs apparently heading for her room. “She’ll get over it…” he continued.
“I know. But… it’s hard explaining to a little girl the wisdom of making good choices.”
“Oh, I think she understands she’s just struggling to accept disappointment.”
Thirty minutes later Sally’s Mom headed upstairs to deliver her daughters’ laundry, tapping on her bedroom door then opening it “Sally, honey you forgot to bring your laundry basket up…” Sally’s Mom stood like a frozen statue in the doorway mouth gapping staring at Sally who was frantically trying to take off the purple sweater.
“Sally! What have you done?”
“Mom…before you say anything, I counted the money in my piggy bank and I have $4.36, that should help pay for my sweater, right?”
“Oh, Sally… screeched her Mom you stole that sweater, that’s wrong!”
“Well… undaunted Sally stammered use my money to help pay for it.”
“What’s going on?” Asked Sally’s Dad entering the room. “Never mind…” his voice trailed off.
“We’re going back to the dress shop to return that sweater” fumed Sally’s Mom.
Sally burst into tears. “This is your fault; you know how bad I wanted this purple sweater!”
“Sally, said her Dad firmly, just because you want something doesn’t mean it is okay for you to steal it. You made the choice to steal this sweater and that was wrong.”
“But Dad, I can help pay for it, I have money too!”
“Sally, that isn’t the point. It is wrong to steal. It is our responsibility as parents to teach you right from wrong. Sally…do you think God approves of stealing?
“What does God have to do with it?” retorted Sally.
“Sally…come on honey let’s sit on your bed we need to talk” said her Dad. Reluctantly, Sally flopped on the edge of her bed arms crossed staring at the floor. “Honey, look at me insisted her Dad sitting down beside her. He picked Sally up cradling her in his arms hugged her and kissed her forehead. “I love you Sally. You may not like learning lessons but they are part of life. Sally…we are your parents we obey God when we teach you what He thinks about the choices we make. Stealing is wrong.
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