Today Max had a sad lesson – and I guess I did, too.
Gerry had taken Hannah to the pool for swim team practice, and Max was at loose ends around the house. He asked me to go on a bike ride with him but I told him I was busy getting ready for my trip tomorrow. It was also killer humid. I told him he could ride his bike, but not to leave our yard or our neighbor’s yard (driveways).
Max went a few houses down to a new neighbor’s house, “showed his bike” to a workman there, then ran home to ride his other (small, old, red) bike. Here his story gets foggy, but it’s already troubling enough that he was cozying up to some guy – probably a fine person but someone we don’t know – a few houses away. The fact that he LEFT his bike there is very troubling. And then three “big kids” went by, two on bikes and 1 on roller blades, and they took the bike. We drove all over South Orange and part of Newark, no luck. Max was bereft. I don’t know if you remember, but this was the bike that I got up at 5 in the morning the day after Thanksgiving to go get at a bargain rate. Too bad. It’s going to be a looooong time before Max gets another new bike!
He was his usual cheerful self this evening when Dad took him and Hannah downtown for ice cream – he was pretty upset at the loss of his bike earlier, and even more so at the severe dressing down I gave him for leaving our property and chatting up a strange adult without Mom or Dad around. A day of hard lessons.
As we were driving around I asked Max what he learned and he said, “Never leave my bike outside, put it away…” I told him he also learned how bad it feels to have something taken, and that if he ever had the urge to steal anything he needs to remember how painful it is, that’s why we never take things that don’t belong to us. I hope that lesson sinks in, too – he’s very empathetic, I think it will make sense.