Self Control Matters!
"...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law."
Galatians 5: 22-23
Do not underestimate the power of your auto rosary or saint medals swimming around in your car's ashtray! :)
Joking aside, I got my stolen items back last night, and while we all know that there are no magical powers associated with rosaries, saint medals, holy cards, etc., I do firmly believe in the power of prayer!
Last Thursday, I shared this post about a thief taking advantage of this busy mom who inadvertently left her minivan side door open. I shared that while I was deeply disappointed in this stranger's lack of morals...inability to exert impulse control...outrageous nerve...
...I knew that I should pray for him or her.
I also shared that God is always watching out for us. The young man that stole the electronics from the front seat area, didn't even realize that the $300 Eddie Bauer infant-to-toddler convertible car seat was much more valuable and left it sitting there.
Well, all of our prayers for this young man worked in my favor! Not sure if it was his guilt working against him...or his own laziness (probably the latter), but he hadn't even pawned/sold my stuff.
Yesterday afternoon, at approximately 1:00 PM, Detective Sanders got my case file including the surveillance footage from the mall security cameras. (Incidentally, this mall is the most popular in the KC metro area and because of that, the local city police department also places their own high tech security cameras to help combat parking lot theft at this oh-so-popular shopping venue.) Between the two different security systems, they were able to watch this thief in action and catch him red-handed!
According to the detective, a little silver car could be seen driving around the mall parking lot. As he turned down the row I parked in, he could be seen coming to a screeching halt. Lightning fast, he jumps out of his driver's seat, enters through my open side-door, can be seen crawling up to the front seat. Quick like bunnies (a family expression!)... he's back into his own car...with my stuff!
From that vantage point, security could not get a license plate, but...
...as he circled the parking lot and stopped to pick up his girlfriend in a different row, he was caught on another security camera and this time surveillance had a perfect image of his license plate.
A quick background check told the officer that this thief had no prior criminal history, but lots of unpaid parking tickets.
Around 5 PM, the detective showed up at his address. Sitting in the apartment parking lot was his little silver car with my stolen goods still on the floor board.
The detective knocked on his door and when the young man opened it, he just stood there saying nothing. Detective Sanders said, "You know why I'm here...right?" And the guy answered, "yes." The detective said, "you understand that we have you on camera?" And the guy was like, "I know."
When the detective asked him why he did it, he gave the sob story about so many bills to be paid and no job...no ability to find a job because of the bad economy...etc., etc., etc. He planned to sell my stuff on Craig's List.
The guy went out to his car and gave the detective my stuff back, but the detective made it clear to him that charges will still be filed. While he swears up and down that this was his "first time to ever do anything like this", the detective said to me, "more like his first time to get caught".
Sadly, this "kid" (I have no idea how old he is) now has a criminal record. And while he won't serve jail time (and I don't feel that jail would be an appropriate punishment for this particular crime), he will more than likely plead guilty and be put on probation. His hand will be forced in that he will now need to get a job as part of his sentencing and plea agreement.
New GPS system, purchased over the weekend, because my husband "can't drive without one".
I get to keep the new one...he he he!
But what bothers me even more, as both a mother and an educator, is this young man's inability to choose right over wrong...to exert self-control...to allow that moral compass to guide his decisions.
I would love to pick this guy's brain...to ask him questions like...
...do you believe in God or have a Faith life? ...did you grow up with religion?
...did you grow up in a two-parent home?...were you a daycare/latchkey kid...?
...can you read...well? Was school a struggle for you...or was school too easy?
...did you steal out of kids' desks at school when you were growing up (sticky fingers)?
...were you bullied? ....were you the bully?
...what's your temperament like? Do you give up easily when times get tough...do your persevere?
...did you play in nature a lot?...were you responsible for caring for siblings or a family pet...?
Were you a Boy Scout????!!!! (My little Benjamin is officially a Tiger Cub!!! More on that later!)
I know that there is not one simple answer to explain this young man's behavior. More than likely it is a combination of events in his life that led up to last Thursday.
But will this arrest and sentencing be enough to deter future criminal behavior?
My guess is no.
Unless he does some deep soul searching, gets right with God, and finds a mentor/friend/girlfriend in his life that doesn't condone (and be an accomplice!) this type of behavior, he will forever be in and out of the criminal justice system.
Can you tell that I've been thinking about this a lot?
How do I prevent Mary, Ben, and Luke from getting involved in this type of behavior?
I think the answer is strong parental involvement.
This will look different for every child...meeting them where their needs are at..., but I firmly believe in attachment parenting, gentle correction including helping our children master self-control (i.e. telling them no and having them be okay with that!) and giving children a strong Faith life, including being an active member of a church-going congregation. All of these go a long way into molding little hearts and minds to be faithful, God-loving, productive human beings.
Anyway, let's keep praying for this young man! He certainly needs our prayers. And thanks for reading this long-winded post!!! Hugs.
Linking up with Beth over at Simply Beth for Three Word Wednesday.