Okay, here is a scenario. You are taking a walk on a side-walk and there is an object next to the side-walk. Is it stealing to pick that object up?
The object is irrelevant. In this case it was just a toy, that was probably worth five dollars. I had a gut feeling it was just dropped by a garage saler, but I felt that it was still in someone else's yard, and we weren't sure whether it belonged to someone in the house or truly dropped by a garage saler. I told the child it was wrong to pick it up and used the word stealing. Another adult felt that using the word stealing in that case was too harsh. Maybe it was, but wouldn't that be stealing?
I guess I'm thinking of the countless times the kids leave things in their front yard, sometimes inches from the side-walk. If a kid picked it up, it would be stealing, right? Or does a child forfeit the right to that toy, because it's next to a sidewalk?
When I was four, I got a new Tonka truck. Playing by the mailbox, I ran inside to get a drink. When I came back, it was gone. Did I lose it? I liked that truck!
Two part answer...
DevLin did you learn a lesson that cost you a toy? And had you not learned the lesson with this toy you would have learned a more expensive lesson later on in life.
Was it steaking by the person that took it? YES.
You wouldn't believe what I learned from that. My brother found out what my leaving his bike by the mailbox did. Should've let me ride it.
Are you saying that behind every silver linning is a dark cloud
A four year old has gotta do what a four old has gotta do. Did your brother learn anything?
I get a feeling that you didn't teach him that.
I got a feeling that his hating had something to do with the bike at the nail box though.
Maybe that is where the toy that the OP spoke of got to where it was.
Somebody might have trying to teach their big brother something (or not)
bottom line, your the Mom. Your in charge of teaching morals and values. Who cares what others think? If to you, its stealing, then go with it.
Hi friend angela_michelle
I don't think it is stealing; and it is being too harsh to say it is stealing; you should have instead, told the boy that you will purchase a new one for him, if he leaves it.
I think excessive use of the words "stealing" or "lying" don't help the kids; alternatives should be used to diffuse the situation.
I am an Ahmadi peaceful Muslim
You are correct to tell your child not to pick it up. Stealing is also not too harsh a word. Someone could miss this if it were picked up.
Tthe litmus test is...............If some could miss if it were picked up it then it would not be right to pick it up.
It need not be trivial. Your first instinct is usually the correct one. You felt it was stealing, therefore the child should be taught as much. I matters not where an object is. If you retrieve it for personal purposes it is stealing. This is different, though, from retrieving a five dollar bill or something and turning it in to the police department or some lost and found.
Simple terms. If it's not yours, leave it alone. If it's valuable turn it in to the proper authorities. Keep your desire or "want" entirely out of the equation. That's temptation and should be avoided. Giving in to such only degrades one's integrity and trustworthiness.
Let me play devils advocate
If you pick up a empty wrapper is it stealing?
Is it only stealing if the object has value?
Well, if it doesn't belong to you, therefore it nearly always belongs to somebody else and then, yes, it is stealing.
I always try to teach my children that they should do unto others as they would have done to them.
When faced with a similar situation a few months ago, I asked my son (who wanted to keep the toy) how he would feel if he had forgotten to take his toy inside and it went missing. He replied that he would be very upset. I then asked him what he would have liked a stranger to do if they walked past and saw his toy. He promptly picked up the toy, walked up to the front door of the house, put it on the door step and walked back to me with a big smile on his face.
I felt that I handled the situation in a way that will teach my kids to WANT to do the right thing, rather than NOT WANTING to get into trouble.
I felt rather annoyed when I too, was berated by a friend for doing what I did. I don't really know if there is a right or a wrong way to handle such a situation. I also don't think the way you handled your situation was "wrong". You need to do what is right for you, in your situation, and I just thought I'd ad insight from another perspective.
It would be nice if our friends could try to share their opinions by giving us an insight into their views rather than criticizing us to make themselves feel superior. But maybe that is a bit of a Utopian view...
Well, it was the child's mother who gave me her opinion, so she had every right too. I respected her opinion, but having a six year old daughter myself, I felt I wanted my daughter to know that was stealing, and was curious what other people felt. The person did it very nicely, and respectfully as well.
Stealing or not, in this type of situation I ask myself these questions.
Is it yours?
Is it someone elses?
Yes. Then don't touch it, or...
I don't know - then don't touch it until you find out.
No, it is not someone elses (evidence of abandonment etc, in the trash, obviously laying in the desert for 20 years etc., ) then take it.
I was raised not to steal anything. However, dad used to say, If you're going to steal, steal a billions dollars, make it worthwhile. Any idiot can steal small stuff and everyone hates a petty thief. But if you steal a billion dollars, a lot of people will respect that.
Interesting topic. My take: Yes, it would be stealing because the child obviously knows it belongs to someone else and not themselves.
Depending on the age of the child and a few other circumstances, I would prefer to use the term "taking what doesn't belong to you" - for a toddler and adding "it's the same as stealing" for a 5-6 year old so they can learn to recognize these situations themselves.
I guess that would depend on whether or not it was one the grounds of someone's house or home. You say next to the side-walk, but what does that mean?
Location, location, location is what matters. If it happened to be on the side-walk and you see a bunch of toys in the yard, thus allowing you to understand that yes it does actually have a good chance of being owned by someone. Then, stealing it is precisely what it is.
However, if that object seems completely out of place or happens to be in the street next to the side-walk, then it would be safe to believe that it does not belong to anyone or did, but is now considered lost, then stealing is too harsh a word.
Possession is 9/10ths law, however, as I indicated above, there is a clear difference to define what is stealing and what is not.
Just my thoughts. There really isn't a right or wrong answer, but if your conscience sees it as stealing, then it is not wrong. If you feel or felt guilty, even before you decided to pick it up, then you have your answer. Just another thought.
It was on the grass closer to the house than the road about three inches into the yard. It was out of place, and I was 99 percent sure it was someone who had been garage saling that dropped it. But I wanted to teach the child that we shouldn't take it.
That's totally stealing. The residential community where I live in has kids toys laying around all over the place. There's also bikes and baby carriers left outside. Yet noone picks up something that's not theirs!
I hope this helps!
I thought it was stealing, but the mom of the child didn't. I'm just the babysitter. I wasn't mad about how the mom felt, and she said it nicely. It wasn't like we fought about it, I just disagreed and was curious what other people thought. Thanks everyone for you're input, I've been enjoying reading everyone's responses.
I would say that technically any small object left on the sidewalk or out in the street is fair game and wouldn't be considered stealing by the police.
Morally if you see its near a yard that has signs that kids live there, then the item is probably theirs and it wouldn't be right to take it regardless of what is technically right or wrong. Younger kids often have little or no understanding that their property ends where the sidewalk begins.
Basic rule of thumb: If it isn't yours then leave it alone.
I think the bottom line is that you know in your heart picking it up is not the right thing to do.
The discussion of whether or not to call it stealing is almost a separate thing from the act itself. I mean, we do need terms to clarify and distinguish these sorts of ideas, but I think the primary issue is whether it's right or wrong to grab something that isn't ours. It's obviously not ours, so why take it? Leave it and at the very least, if the owner realizes it's gone, they have the option to come back and retrieve it.
In keeping with what Greentiecommando said, it's a residential area. Kids are kids. Etc.
Regarding the word itself, I'm not sure I would call it "stealing." That has an intent to it that I don't quite see in this case, but I think you have spotted something very close to the exact place where the line between exists. So, interesting forum thread. Thanks for that.
I don't let my children take things that are actually on the path, I tell them that the child might come back to look for it.
My son dropped his beloved rabbit on the path some years ago and he was so upset. We went back for it and there it was still lying there. He would have been so sad if it had gone.
I don't use the word 'stealing' though, I just try to emphasise how the other child would feel. However, I did, myself, find £70 on the road once, blowing around with some rubbish from a bin....me and my friend took that home. I would never have done it if it had been in a wallet or identifiable, but it was just the money on its own, late at night, and no one about.
Whenever I encountered something similar with my children when they were younger I would just ask them, "Is it yours?" The answer would come back, "No." And I would respond with, "Then leave it be." If we did come across something that could be returned to its owner, we did and if there was a "lost and found" we returned it there. First definition of stealing is "take something that does not belong to one". What else you gonna call it - it is what is!
I would not go as far as to say it is stealing.... But then I would not take it either... ($100 bill on the sidewalk would be another matter...)
If it was on the edge of the sidewalk next to someone's yard I would be inclined to move it further onto the property to make it clearer that it belonged there, even as far as the door if it was valuable - if it does not belong there then the owner of the property can then deal with the issue, better that than take some kids toy....
Just for clarification. It's not like admonished the child and was like, "Don't take that! That's stealing!" It was said gently, but I did use the word stealing. I said, "Honey, you can't take that, it's not yours, put it back." She goes, "But it was just lying there." I said, "Honey, you can't take something that's not yours, it's stealing!" `
I would agree with your approach. Your intentions were to tell the child that she shouldn't be picking up something which didn't belong to her, so I think that's perfectly fine. Leaving aside the definition of what stealing is, I think what matters here is that you let the child know what's right or wrong.
It would be unhealthy to draw a narrow distinction (as in this case) and have the child pick it up and keep it. So, what you did was right IMHO, irrespective of whether you should have used the word "stealing" or not!!
My parents always taught my brother and I:
"If it's not yours, don't touch it!"
Tada! There you go, all you need to know. I won't even comment on the degraded views of morality of humankind as a whole when the simplest concept of ownership becomes a logistic and logical nightmare.
I agree with you, but I think stealing might have been to harsh. But I don't know? Was the child old enough to explain it to in more depth?
You just don't allow kids to pick up things on the street, toys or others. Somebody lost it - let him find it back. It's not a stealing, it's scavenging.
Stealing is defined as taking an object you do not own and claiming possession on said property. Thus, anything that you pick up that you have not owned is considered stealing as long as it is removed from it's location without the owner knowing where it is. You can also have larceny by possession, meaning someone knew you had the item and now you dont have it. Often times you will hear this when an object is taken from a property, given to you without you knowing it is stolen, and you then get rid of that item or throw it out. Either way, you are still involved in the chain of events that unfolded to get that item to you.
The idea behind this? Don't take anything that does not belong to you. Knowing if an item is truly yours or not has nothing to do with the term " finders keepers losers weepers", if you take something that does not belong to you , you are stealing reagrdless of what you wish to call it.
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