ERROL CASTENS: Lesson learned – not sure by whom

By Errol Castens/NEMS Daily Journal

“Bobby” (not his real name) was amusing himself on the playground at Happy House the other day.
He wasn’t playing chase or shooting baskets or building Tonka roads in the pea gravel. Instead, he was taking things from other kids and throwing them across the six-foot-high fence.
Predictably, his victims weren’t pleased, and they set up a wail.
When my wife, Mrs. Sue, reached the scene of the crime she asked, “Bobby, why are you throwing other people’s toys over the fence?”
Bobby gave an utterly honest and, to him, totally plausible answer: “Because I want to.”
Sue quickly figured out her response.
“Give me your shoe,” she told the 4-year-old.
“Why?” Bobby asked.
“Just give me your shoe,” she demanded in a tone that stymied any further argument. He gave her one of his sneakers, and she promptly threw it over the fence.
Sobs were instantaneous.
“Wh-wh-why d-d-d-did you f-f-f-fwow my shoe o-o-o-over the fence?” Bobby asked.
“Because I wanted to,” Sue said, and the light bulb of understanding went on over Bobby’s head. To make sure the lesson stuck, though, she made Bobby go through lunch with only half a pair of footgear.
Naptime followed, so it was only when the kids awoke that Sue thought again about recovering the sneaker.
It was gone. Vanished. Disappeared. Nowhere to be found.
Sue’s mental gears spun quickly, and she loaded Bobby up for a quick trip to the big box store down the road for replacements.
After a seemingly interminable choosing process, the boy finally opted for a pair of shoes featuring characters from the “Ironman” movie. Sue paid for them, and she and Bobby drove back to Happy House.
After Sue had left, Ms. Sarah had thought to ask the yard man if he had seen the lone shoe. He had and, assuming it was useless, had thrown it into a Dumpster.
Ms. Sarah had climbed in and retrieved it. All the teachers thought it was hilarious.
Sue was perturbed at having needlessly spent time and money buying the new shoes but announced that because Bobby now had his original shoes, the new ones could be packed in an Operation Christmas Child shoebox to send to some needy child in another country.
Bobby started crying again.
“I don’t get to keep my Ironman shoes?” Bobby asked.
I’m not sure what lasting lessons Bobby got from the whole experience, but Sue learned it’s never a good thing to throw other people’s things across the fence.
No matter how much you may want to.

Contact Daily Journal Oxford Bureau reporter Errol Castens at (662) 281-1069 or

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