It is easy because if you are doing what is right at all times, then you have nothing to feel guilty about. For instance, even though my church encourages dating multiple people early in a relationship, I never date more than one person at once because you are bound to like one more than the other. This would basically mean your leading the other person on and lying to one or both of them. Lying always makes me feel guilty even if I do not admit it to myself. That is why I do my best to always tell the truth. But let’s face it, from time to time, things happen because of something you did that might make you feel guilty. It doesn’t have to. As long as you make things right, then you have nothing to feel guilty about. Let me give you an example…
A couple weeks ago, I took my boyfriend, his son, and my girls swimming. My boyfriend did not have a way to safe guard his wallet so he gave it to my daughter to bring to me in the locker room to lock up in my locker. Just a couple days before I had bought new locks for the swimming pool so he felt comfortable knowing that I could keep his wallet safe. The only problem was, I had forgotten to bring any of the locks with me that day. So rather than admit my mistake, I wrapped his wallet up in my bra, put it at the bottom of my bag, and stuffed my bag in a locker with all my children’s things on top of it. Unfortunately, it was not enough. Someone still went through my locker and found his wallet and helped themselves to $140. Granted, I did not steal his money but I felt pretty awful that it happened because I was too trusting of complete strangers. At this point, I had a choice to make, I could feel guilt for being irresponsible with his wallet and lose sleep over it or I could teach my children the right thing to do when they make a mistake. So, I wrote him an apology, went to my bank, withdrew some money and put it in the card and delivered it to him that evening. Knowing that I did the right thing, I slept well that night.
Now I ask you, what do you do when you find yourself feeling guilty for something your children have done? What I do is figure out a way to get my children to do the right thing. It is not always easy and sometimes you have to elicit the help of others. I’ll share another story with you to explain what I mean.
In April, I caught my youngest daughter steeling for the second time in a week. The first time I caught her she was playing with a small screwdriver that looked like something that I remembered seeing at my mother’s house so I asked her where she got it. She told me that my mother had given it to her. Not knowing if my mother in fact gave it to her or not, I confiscated it and told her I would ask my mother about it the next day. The next day, I made her return the stolen property to my mother who confirmed it was hers and that she had not given it to Savanna. Then I gave my mother the opportunity to choose Savanna’s punishment. I thought for sure the chores my mother chose for her punishment would nip her steeling problem in the butt. She had her scrubbing toilets, floors, and floorboards in all her bathrooms. Every time Savanna said she was done, my mother would go give it the white glove test and make her start over again.
To my dismay, I caught her with more stolen goods a week later after we left my boyfriend’s sister’s house. While driving, to the park, my oldest daughter saw Savanna playing with money and asked her where she got it. After lying about where she got it, she finally admitted that she found it on the twin’s bedroom floor. Talk about feeling guilty. Here I am hoping to become family to these people one day and my daughter is stealing from them. My boyfriend is much more of the immediate consequences type of a parent so he got a bit upset when I did not immediately punish my daughter. Not only was it hard to do anything about it at that moment while I was driving, I prefer lasting consequences so I wanted to think about what to do before taking any action. I thought quite a bit about it while we were flying kites and finally decided to call the police hoping to really scar this behavior out of her.
Luckily, Officer Dave Wilkinson of the Price City Police Department responded to the call and did a great job of really scaring Savanna. Having children of his own, he understood the need to make a big impression on her young mind. I am thankful to say he did just that. He told her that she would have to give everything back to its owner that she took and apologize or she would have to go to the station in his police car with him. The look on her face was priceless. I was somewhere between tears and doing my best to keep a straight face. She did return the stolen property and looked completely humbled from the whole experience. Though it has only been 3 months since the last incident, I am thankful to say that I have not caught Savanna stealing anything else. With any luck, it will stay that way and her days of stealing are over.
So if you find yourself having trouble sleeping, think about your actions from the day and do what you can to get rid of any guilty feelings you are hiding in your subconscious mind. I guarantee that you will sleep better for it. In the meantime, I would love to hear what you do to make sure you sleep well at night.