Crystal shifted in her seat nervously as her mother spoke with her teacher and librarian. She’d been worried all day about her fate. Crystal, was caught stealing library books for the third time. She didn’t think it was fair to be allowed one book at a time, so she went against the rules, and tried getting more. She looked into her mother’s eyes, Of course, she expected her usual reaction, but mother had never been brought into school for something before.
The three adults sat in front of her with unreadable gazes, until her teacher spoke,”Well Crystal, as you know we are here to discuss the situation with the library books.” Turning her head to look at Jane, Crystal, then her librarian. As if on cue, the librarian began, “Crystal has been sneaking books from our library.” A quiet pause escaped around them and he continued, “While we like to encourage kids to read, we have so many students here, that we must require a checkout limit.” Crystal looked at Jane with a fear driven by please-don’t-be-mad-at-me-for-stealing. She pleaded with her eyes and gave Jane a remorseful look. “We would like to talk about things that we could do involving her consequence.” the librarian and teacher looked at each other then continued, “We have decided that Crystal should work in the library shelving books for a week, during lunch. Jane how do you feel about that?” Jane looked at Crystal and asked “Crystal, how do you feel about that?”
“Bad mommy. I don’t want to work in the library.”
“Well Crystal, think about it…I get that you have a great desire to read, and that’s awesome and because of that, maybe being surrounded by all those books might be enjoyable for you. You know stealing isn’t right, and maybe you should redeem yourself.” Jane shrugged her shoulders and neck with a contemplative look on her face. Crystal contemplated what her mother said, and smiled softly. She noticed her teachers smile as well. Her teacher shifted in her seat and looked at the librarian.
“Yes Crystal it’s not your interest in reading that’s the problem, it’s that we would like to see you cooperating more.” Mr. Larson said with a genuine smile on his face. “Yes Crystal it’s OK if you finish your book early. You can always request to be sent to the library to trade in your book.” Mrs. Howard reiterated. Crystal looked at her teacher with interest, “We have no problem allowing you to do so. You just need to understand we can only permit one book at a time. Do you understand that?” Crystal nodded her head realizing that her teacher had a good point. She tilted her head and said, “OK… I understand that. Teacher why can’t the library lend more books out at a time?”
Jane looked at Crystal and said, “You see Crystal. Unlike public libraries, your school may not have an abundance of books. There’s so many students that go here and most likely not enough books for all of them. You gotta consider the fact that we all have to share.” Crystal’s teacher and librarian smiled at Jane’s response. “Your mother is right. I want you to do one thing for me Crystal. Can you remember to go straight to the library for lunch tomorrow, before making me have to remind you? I want to see you taking the responsibility all on your own. Do you think you can remember?”Crystal shook her head enthusiastically. “Uh huh.” She looked at her mother who still held her calm exterior. Jane paused for a moment before saying anything.
There it was. That look on my mothers face. I knew the next words that came out of her mouth would be beatiful. They would be her … lesson.
Jane’s eyebrows raised, as she expressed a witty smirk. “You see Crystal, at the very bottom line, it’s following the rules matter even if you may not agree. They are always going to be there. Whether it be your parents, your teacher, your librarians, or bosses. You’re gonna have rules to follow for the rest of your life. It’s part of growing, and It’s better that you learn that now rather than later.”
Crystal’s teacher and librarian beamed with large smiles on their faces. Showing their agreement of this wisdom. Crystal smiled at her mother with such confidence as she spoke prominently. In that very moment, Crystal discovered, that even in her most dire moments, her mother could turn everything into a deeper lesson with meaning that carried a weight beyond her years. While Crystal and her mother walked to their car she asked,”Mommy why didn’t you get mad at me for stealing books?”
“Well honey… While stealing is wrong and not OK, it’s your desire for reading that I am proud of, and you did a really good job owning up to your wrong doing all on your own. I’d really like to see you following rules more, because once you do that, the need for stealing will be no more. Can you do that for mommy?”
“I sure can mom.” Crystal smiled at her mother and quietly sat inside the car. As they drove away Crystal stared at her mother and said “Your the bestest mom ever and I love you soooooo much.”
An ultimate bond they’ve grown throughout life. With every situation they live through, strengthens their ties. Crystal looked up to her mother more than anyone else, and this day she felt comfort in knowing, her mother is her shining star.
To be continued…..