Friday morning, I was driving home from dropping my kids off at school when I realized our iPod was missing from the van. The van had been parked in our driveway, in our safe, secluded, little neighborhood overnight. I assumed Mark had grabbed it to take it to work so I called him when I got home. He didn't have it. After tearing the van apart, the reality slowly hit us. Someone had stolen our iPod.
It has been a rough road for us financially for quite some time. Having been crushed by the housing crisis, we work hard to keep our heads above water. We scrimp and save and have to plan for the simplest outing. We budget for months before making bigger purchases. Our iPod had been a gift to our family last Christmas. We do not have a lot of electronic gadgets in our home but wanted to have a way to carry our music with us and help our kids to stay somewhat current electronically. We made a plan that we would share the iPod, make individual play lists and check it out of our home as one would check out a library book. More often than not though, we used it in the van. With an adaptor on hand, we enjoyed listening to music we all like while driving from event to event or on longer trips. Personally, I love to use it when I work out. The radio feature was so helpful to me. I could listen to things I enjoy while jogging on the treadmill. Having it stolen means not having it. The whole ordeal was so discouraging because it served as another reminder of our tough financial place. It was a luxury item and one I cannot afford to replace.
Oddly, nothing else in the van was touched. Not my purse or Mark's wallet. Everything else was exactly as we left it... except for the missing iPod. Mark mentioned this fact when talking to friends at work and found they had experienced a similar thing. Money left in the vehicle, only the iPod taken. Mark's friends surmised that the theft was likely committed by a teen who simply wants an iPod and does not have one. Surely an adult, or someone with experience in theft, would take anything of value--especially cash--when rifling through someone's vehicle. A teen? Maybe not...
It makes me mad. It really does. Our iPod was stolen at night, during a rainstorm. If it was indeed taken by a teen, it makes me wanna ask, "Where is your momma??" Because if this happened just like this, some young child was out and about, AT NIGHT, unattended. We know that this person went through BOTH of our vehicles that night. Then, this child, went home soaking wet from the storm, carrying an iPod that did not belong to him or her. Did anyone notice? Did anyone see the wet clothes, the unpurchased electronics? Did anyone hear the door open and close in the dead of night when some teen left to rummage through other people's cars? I know it's a little simplistic and I know there are larger things at play. I know it could have been an adult and I know that my question might even be a little judgemental but honestly, where was this kid's mom?
My friends, losing an iPod is a small thing. It mattered to us because of bigger factors but it offered us a reminder as well. It matters. This matters. It matters that I approach my parenting with enthusiasm and purpose. It matters that I am strict with my four. It matters that they are not allowed to get away with things in our home that they know what they should not do. Because, and this is so important, it does not begin with stealing an iPod from a stranger's van! Whether the person who did this to us is an adult or a teen, the reality is that walking this road began with one small step. One decision of disobedience. One act that likely went unnoticed and then a second act was made. Do you see? It matters. It matters that we are there sitting next to our kids and helping them to find a good road. It matters that we discipline the small things and the big. It matters that we set a good example and are consistent because when the time comes for our kids to choose: work for the iPod or steal the iPod? it will be our voices in their heads that tell them they know better. See? It matters.
Today, as you love on your kids, as you discipline when needed, as you prepare meals, do laundry, work and live in and around your family, remember this: when it is hard and when it seems pointless, when you are frustrated and when you are weary, when you have said the same thing for 200th time and a new thing for the first, it is worth it. You are laying a foundation for your child that matters, not only to you, but to the world around you. You are raising your child up with accountability that will help them come to choose a better way. You are teaching them that when you do something against someone, it hurts them, and that is not okay. Today, that might be about hitting a sibling or cleaning up your mess. Tomorrow, it will mean far more. It is an investment in your family, in your community, in our world that really, truly, honestly matters.
My kids make mistakes. As they get older, the mistakes will get bigger and this is already a matter of prayer for me! But, whatever those mistakes might be, I want to know that they know better. I want to know that I have done whatever I can to help them find a better way. Some days that is easier than others. Some days, it is a mountain I don't know how to climb. But I want to keep going... for them, for me, for all of you. Because it matters.
There is one more thing. After hearing about our iPod, a couple who is dear to us went out and bought us a new one. It was a huge surprise and an overwhelming gift. We were so grateful and feel so blessed by this act of generosity. You know what though? I knew his momma, her mother-in-law. His momma was good and attentive and gracious. She made a loving impression on all her children and their spouses. She passed away several years ago, but to this day, her children still tell stories about her with tears in their eyes. It mattered. Every second she spent next to her children mattered. And matters still.
Blessings on your day.
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