Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Doing the right thing (all on his own)

Danny's first act of petty theft was the unintentional pilfering of his friend Louis' pink Cadillac Match Box car. It was the first car that he named. "Louis car" has been the flagship vehicle in his fleet for months now.

We started explaining to him early on that Louis really misses his car and that giving it back is the right thing to do. He seemed unmoved, sometimes he would balk. We didn't push it. Whenever we had a play date with Louis, though, I made sure that Louis car was stashed in the diaper bag. The time never seemed right.

Well, last Friday, Danny came down to breakfast with Louis car. As usual, we talked at breakfast about our plans for the day. I told him we would see Louis at church that morning. He perked up, grabbed Louis car and said "Louis car. Take it with us?"

Sure, kid. So off we go to church. He started squawking about Louis car as I backed out of the driveway. Turns out he left it in the house. I went back for it and when I gave it to him, he said, "Give it back to Louis."

This particular morning I had not even mentioned giving it back. When we got to church, I told him where Louis was (in the art room) and asked him if he would like to give Louis his car back. He walked right up and handed it to him, "Here you go Louis." Louis thanked him and then drew us a nice little picture that is hanging on our fridge.

My jaw dropped. I gave him a hug and told him how proud I was of him and that it was the right thing to do even though it was hard.

Then I tried not to cry. Maybe it was the weeks I've gone without any real sleep ... or maybe I'm just really proud of that boy for making the decision and proud of us for backing off and letting him do it. Danny did fuss a little bit as he realized that we were leaving Louis car behind when we left church. But I told him again how proud I was of him and told him that I understood it was a hard thing for him to do. He told me "Did the right thing."

"Yes, you did, honey," I said, choking back tears again.

Of course, when I told Jim about it later that day, I cried. And over the weekend, Danny was rewarded with seven new vehicles for his fleet.

No comments: