Monday, June 1, 2009
What's Love Got To Do With It?
I feel like I need to get some of these thoughts out of my head and onto paper so I can stop thinking about them.
One of my students and deaf church goers was caught stealing from his work on Friday night. This is the same boy who stole $100 from my wallet and never paid it back. We knew he had been stealing things from his workplace almost daily for at least a month. I had talked to him many times about "Obey me, and I will be your God and you will be my people. Walk in all the ways I command you, that it may go well with you." (Jer. 7:23) . I told him that if he got caught he would surely lose his job. Then what? About two weeks ago they caught him with one or two items. They cut his work hours and warned him. He didn't seem to register that there was a connection between his work being cut and his stealing. He apologized to the boss...not out of a deep conviction of guilt but in order to try and pasify him.
The boy continued to steal things. I was tempted to turn him in but knew that he would get the situation turned around and be mad at me instead of owning the problem so I waited until the boss caught him. Last Friday with his pockets full of food items, his boss caught him red-handed. The boss called the police and they hauled him to jail with sirens blaring. He stayed one night.
He rode with me in the van to pick up people for church this morning. He said the boss was mad and that is why he was fired. He knew that wasn't true. He was playing a game of denial. He said something about a girl...it's her fault. (That must of been the girl that told the boss to check his pockets.) Still a denial. In the course of the 2.5 hour drive he eventually confessed to me that he had filled his pockets with gum and candy and that was why he was fired. I asked him to share that and confess during church... to warn the other people that if they try to get away with lying and stealing that "things will not go well for them".
During church I asked him if he would share. He said he would and went up to the front. He confessed to stealing but no one understood it because he signed other things confusing everyone, like the boss was mad and he didnt know why, and he wants to quit working, he wants to ask Mrs. Briceno (the school principal) to beg the boss to let him work again. He said he hates the store and will quit.
He loved the store before Friday and wrote the name of the store on everything. He was so proud to have a job there.
It wasn't a confession. Hmmm. I was wondering if I should have asked him to share. I was hoping he would be contrite. At least as contrite as he was finally with me in the car when he found out I knew the truth. I was hoping he could use this bad turn of events to teach the others. It didn't work that way.
What concerns me more is when he talks to others about this, he does not yet own that the reason he was fired was because HE continued to steal from the store, that it was his faulty choice, that he chose a short term reward (stealing candy so he could give it to people and be popular) over the longer term goal of maintaining his job and doing what is right. I dont think he can mature from this point or learn from this mistake until he owns the problem.
So that's sad. His immediate supervisor is a wonderful man who was truly trying to give this boy a break, a chance. He was sad that the boy did not realize that and threw it away. It was an Indian owned store. There is no way this boy will ever be able to work in another one of the Hindu Indian run stores in Orange Walk.
Choices...It's hard to teach, verbally, that some of the choices these young people make have permanent consequences. They think so temporarily. Maybe knowing and seeing this drama play out will make that lesson stick, eventually. Maybe. I hope.