Not hers to have...

Thursday, January 17, 2013


Recent events have reminded me of something that happened when I worked outside the home. Something that was confusing to me. I couldn't, for the life of me, understand someone's behavior toward something that was mine. It was an item I liked - but in the big picture of things it was very insignificant.

My career at that time had me working out of an office - working behind a desk. So of course I had the necessary office items... stapler, tape, scissors, etc,...

Some of the items were actually mine. I had purchased them and used them at my desk. This seemed to help them from disappearing.

One of the items I had personally purchased was a pair of pink and yellow scissors. They were very cute and I was pretty sure that by their color - the maintenance men wouldn't disappear with them.

One Spring afternoon - a young lady, who was related to others in the office, came by to plant flowers around the office building. She stopped by my desk and asked if she could borrow my scissors. I handed them to her and let her know that I would be leaving before her... so she could place my scissors back on my desk when she was finished.

I knew very well that she had no intention of returning them. She often was the cause of items disappearing. As I walked out of the door that evening, I reminded her that she could place the scissors in my office.

When I returned the next morning - the scissors were of course not there. This bothered me. Not that scissor are all that important - but it wasn't hers to take. Over the years I had just had enough of things disappearing into her possession - never to be seen again.

So, I spent the next few days having her family members remind her that I needed those back. One morning, her father came in - a little huffy and puffy - and tossed the scissors onto my desk. Clearly upset with the 'fuss' I had made over my item being returned.

To this day - the attitude surrounding that incident bothers me. Why was my insistence on having my items returned to me such an issue? It was mine. It was not hers. It belonged in my possession.

As a mother, I see this same behavior in children. Teaching them to share and to respect what belongs to others can be difficult.

What disappoints me more, is seeing the behavior in adults. Adults who can easily begin trying to lay claim to things that are not theirs. So much so that they conjure up lies and spread rumors when they are not successful in their attempt to undermine and steal. My favorite is when I see adults threaten legal action when their attempt to steal was unsuccessful. It's much like the comical case of the would-be robber suing the homeowners when he was unsuccessful and only ended up hurt.

Does this behavior have its beginnings in childhood? Is it an underlying issue with personality? How do I ensure that I properly teach these lessons to my children?

It brings up so many questions of entitlement that I can't even begin to fully understand this behavior that is so easily comparable to children who have not yet learned to share and continue in attempts to take away from others.

The past year - I keep finding my pink and yellow scissors in my son's room. He is constantly making and creating various things. Each time I must search for them - I am reminded of my attempt to retrieve them from an adult years prior...