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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Stealing. Learning life lessons.


There was a candy store a few blocks from our house in Taylorsville.  As a child I loved going here because I could get a few different candies for a penny a piece, and this was almost always something we could find if we looked around or were willing to do some work for neighbors.  I am guessing I was likely in kindergarten or at least around this age when this story began. 

As many have likely learned from my other posts, I was able to go away from home and get around my neighborhood a lot as a child.  I only now start to realize that I was likely one of those kids that was constantly seen by neighbors and others as undisciplined and likely even as trouble by many.  That being said I went all over the place by myself, or with siblings, or friends.

One day I went to the candy store and decided I wanted more candy than I could pay for.  I believe I went with others (some of my siblings if I remember right).  We walked around and I knowingly put some candy in my pocket, and then headed on my way.  When I got home, my parents wondered how I could afford the candy I had and when they found out what had happened they took me back to the store and made me give the candy back and apologize.  The man at the store was understanding, but was also firm that if he wanted to he could send me off to detention (or kid jail) for doing things like this.

I got into the habit of occasionally stealing even though I knew better.  There were a few times in my life that I stole.  I stole a toy and a few other candies on a few occasions while I lived in Taylorsville, they were all from different places.  I also got into cars and took money on one occasion.  After my family left Taylorsville and moved to Sandy I stole a video game when I was around 10 years old.  I also stole cigarettes a few times as a pre-teenager.  I also took cash on at least one other occasion I can remember.

No one has ever heard these stories except possibly a friend or sibling if they were involved in the actions.  Sorry mom and dad for these past actions.

I want to make it clear that I write this for my posterity and as a record that people change and as a way to remember that I needed to overcome struggles as all do.  This was one I needed to learn from.  For some time, I seem to have felt others could afford to give me what I wanted.  I have not stolen anything since the time I was taken from my family as a youth.  Though I have been exposed to others stealing and even felt some of the side effects of these actions, these things have further cemented in my mind the damaging and terrible side effects on all that steal or even covet that which others possess.

I have seen hurt from those that have been damaged due to theft, robbery, and others taking advantage of them.  I have also seen people that have damaged their own ability to feel sorrow, to be ripped from family and friends due to loss of trust and faith.  I have even seen some be cast into jail and prison because of their desire to take what they want, and not to care for the efforts of others in obtaining that which they have.

While in foster care I was exposed to some boys that robbed a store and obtained large amounts of money (or what I considered to be large amounts at that time in my life - still significant by any means).  I had to make a choice.  Between those that did this and my ability to obtain some of this money by keeping my mouth shut.  Or doing what I knew to be right and turning them over for their actions to the legal system.  Looking back that decision was a big stepping stone in becoming who I am today.  I have a family member that has spent years in prison and damaged the trust of family and friends because of the terrible side effects of stealing.

To put it plainly.  I learned for myself that stealing was terrible and addicting.  I watched the damaging repercussions on those I loved due to stealing and lying. 

As I have tried to become a person others can rely on and look to for guidance, I have learned not to selfishly put myself first. 

I strongly believe to best way to overcome a desire to steal and to covet is to put aside your own selfish desires and to desire instead the welfare of others.  When this change was in place in my heart.  I no longer desired to steal or even to compare myself to others.  Instead I desired to help to guide and to bless.

This has helped me to find gratitude in my blessings, and to be forgiving and understanding towards others.  I believe this same change of heart will do the same for any that are willing to allow this change in their life.

I didn't stop stealing because of getting caught or because of anything else that scared me, but rather I believe I appreciate things much more when I earn them.  I want to pass this on to my family and posterity.  I simply want to be a good person, someone that leads people to be better.  Whether this be myself, my family, my friends, or anyone else.  I believe everyone wants to be trusted to be respected, and to be loved.  This is why I put away stealing from my life.

Since this time in my life, I feel much stronger about fairness and honesty.  I see EVERYONE even criminals and those that have made bad choices of any nature (That is all of us) as not only people...  But more importantly as people who can change, as people that in most cases want to change if only given the chance.

I write this not only as a record to my children, but in a deep hope that I might bless those my writings come in contact with.  In some ways I see my past as a dark hue like a number of the childhood stories I learned of those that overcame the darkest of pasts to become great.  If I could dig just one person out of the rut I was in and help them become greater than they would otherwise have been; then spilling my past on this blog, and any perceptions that may come with it are all worth it.