You probably didn’t know who the real owner of those items was. You didn’t know that those shoes were a gift from a family member, or that the bag was a personal belonging of his mother. You couldn’t have known that that person’s family does not have a lot of money. You didn’t know that the only other pair of shoes that person had for months had holes in the soles. You have no way of knowing that the shoes owner was part of a family of 5 and that getting new, nice things is a rare treat. You didn’t know anything about the person who owns the shoes and the bag…
YOU KNEW THAT PERSON WAS NOT YOU. You also knew that person went to your Middle School. You knew the person was in the locker room recently. You knew that there was someone (a teacher/coach) that you could have given the shoes to so they could be returned to their rightful owner, who probably was looking for them.
You chose to take them instead. That is stealing and it is wrong. It’s not just wrong because it’s against the law, but it’s wrong because it is hurtful to the person who is being stolen from. It is extremely disrespectful to the person whose hard-earned money purchased whatever was stolen. And no matter how cool it may seem to be able to get away with stealing, there can be no true sense of pride about having something in your possession that you know deep down inside you STOLE from someone else. By stealing, you not only wound the victim, but you damage your own self-respect as well.
Integrity is doing the right thing when no one is watching. The right thing is not always the easiest thing, but the value you get from knowing that you are a good person and that you have the self-control to take the high road, even in tempting situations, is priceless compared to whatever temporary rush you get from getting away with something you know you shouldn’t be doing.
The situations that you face right now and the decisions you make today are what shape you into the adult you will become. You are the parents, the teachers, the leaders of tomorrow. You will be entering the workforce in just a few years. What kind of person do you want to be? You should strive to be someone who can always be trusted…even when it’s easier to do the wrong thing…and even when no one is looking.
So, I am asking whoever took the shoes and the bag to please return them. In addition to integrity and self-control, forgiveness is another valuable asset that will help you out in life. We all make mistakes; we all do dumb things sometimes and then regret them later. I am giving you a second chance, an opportunity to do the right thing. It doesn’t matter who you are or what your name is; no one has to know. I am offering a $20 reward to whoever returns the shoes (in the same condition they were in on Monday) to Coach Marlette by Wednesday, March 14, 2012, no questions asked. You could turn them in yourself, have a friend turn them in for you, have a parent drop them off at the office, whatever. This is not a trap and this is not designed to get anyone in trouble. This is just an opportunity for you to step up and do the right thing, and for a young man to get his belongings back.
That is all.
A concerned parent