Gumball Shame

PaPeR.cLiP /

This series on the Seven “C’s” of Success is inspired by Chris Widener. Join me by putting your own 250-word personal experience in the comments!


I can remember the first, and only, time I shoplifted. It was at our local drug store and it was a bit of gum. My mom trotted me back inside and demanded I make it right.


I was young, probably about four years old, and I was sobbing wildly at having been caught as well as the embarrassment of telling the store manager I was sorry! But I did it, without question, and never shoplifted again.


I never walked into that store after that without remembering how naughty I had been that day. That powerful, negative experience, put me firmly on the straight and narrow.


I’ve heard often that “character is what you do when no one is looking.” I believe this, think of it when I see people picking their noses in their cars at stop lights or yelling at customer service employees because they’re strangers they’ll never see again and it feels good to vent a little.


The actions we take when there are no immediate consequences for our actions add up. It’s like a calcium deposit on a faucet. At first the faucet has no impairment as it functions; it’s only over time the faucet becomes so corroded its usability is compromised.


The manager of that drug store would have gladly given me a piece of gum if I had asked. Because I chose to steal it I lost the gum and humiliated myself. for me, the equation is simple: doing things the right way, even if it feels awkward, will net positive results. Choosing to forgo character causes grief.


Even a curly-haired, stubborn preschooler can learn that lesson!


Question: How is your character? Are you becoming a better person with each passing experience? Are you becoming a rock of wisdom and experience, deepening your foundation of character? 



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