I'm not one who likes to take my kids shopping with me. I prefer to go alone or with only one or two children max, get my stuff done, and hurry back home. I buy clothes and shoes that the kids can later try on at home, and if they fit, great, if not, I just take them back and try again next time I have the chance to go shopping.
Now , I hope you know I am referring only to clothes. I take all 10 of my kids to Costco, no problem. :) It's just that I have found it is too much of a pain for me to have them take forever just to pick out clothes that are too expensive, totally inappropriate, and or something I just would never allow. It's so much easier the way I do it.
So why I decided to take four of my girls clothes shopping with me this past Sunday, I couldn't tell you at the time.
The shopping actually went quite well, and I even found myself a couple of shirts for when we go to Ukraine. It was fun trying on clothes with the girls, and I admit that they behaved better than I thought they would. I just hate when they get in a sour mood because they can't find something in their size, or when I won't buy them a $21 shirt. It was really nice to not have them complain, and I got to show them how much money you can save when you buy just off the clearance racks and use a 15% coupon on top. I saved well over $150, and I was reminded how important it was that the girls were there for me to teach this too. Who else is going to show them how to shop wisely?
Before we went home, I took them to their favorite store Dollar Tree. Just as I was moving the cart to the checkout lane, Annalyn comes up to me and shows me a broken snow globe. Almost in tears, she apologizes to me. "Thanks for telling me Annalyn, but now we have to go find the manager to tell her. The right thing to do is pay for what you broke."
It was a great lesson for all the girls, especially Annalyn who humbly confessed and offered to pay for the snow globe she broke. The manager nicely declined Annalyn's offer, and so we left.
I could end the story right here, but I haven't even gotten to the good part. What could have been the reason that I decided to take four of my girls shopping? I had almost decided not to. I think that only God knew at the time, that it was not the shopping that was important but it was the talking that would later follow.
On the drive home, Annalyn out of the blue said, "You know Mom, I wasn't even going to tell you about the snow globe. After I shook it and it broke, I set it down and walked away. But I started to feel really bad, and I knew it would be better to just tell you. And you know what, I think I did the right thing. I'm glad I told you."
This started the conversation about how breaking something and not telling the store about it is similar to stealing because either way the store loses money. After hearing this, each of my girls shared how they had, in the past, stolen a pack of cough drops, gum, and a rock (yes, one was dumb enough to steal a rock, one of those pretty, shiny, polished rocks). I even told them about the time I had shoplifted and got caught. They asked so many questions, and they were all ears to what I had to say. It is such a rare opportunity where we all share common ground that brings us together as we listen to each others experiences. It was a great drive home.
Oh, and we shared a pack of sour Jolly Ranchers that we all picked out together. (and yes, I paid for them.) :)