In today’s society where divorce is high, where more homes have two working parents, where family-time is at a premium and the list of threats to our children’s welfare continues to grow, it is imperative that all who touch children’s lives take an active role in educating the whole child. It is clear, that like it or not, the lines between the parents’ job, the schools job and the communities’ job have become blurred. Schools often need to be an extension of the parent. Community-based organizations often need to be an extension of both the parent and school. Each touch point in a child’s life needs to have a backup system so that when one falls short, another reaches out and our children do not suffer because we thought that was someone else’s job.
Why discuss shoplifting in particular?
Shoplifting is a prevalent and meaningful issue among youth. 89% of teens say they know others who shoplift and 66% say they hang out with those kids. It is a topic that even “good” kids personally relate to because most know someone who did it and got away with it, have been tempted to do it themselves or have actually done it. In addition, in today’s society, the opportunity to shoplift presents itself in everyday life and children are particularly vulnerable to the temptation to “get something for nothing”. Shoplifting for teens is not just a question of right and wrong. It is strongly influenced by peer pressure and kids’ growing sense of entitlement. In today’s society they find it easy to rationalize shoplifting as “no big deal” when their parents and schools don’t talk about it and they can proudly say, “at least I’m not doing drugs”.
Why is shoplifting a good topic for character-education?
The study of shoplifting is an objective vehicle for the teaching of effective and reasonable morals and values. Regardless of the ethical or guiding philosophy to which families subscribe, shoplifting is universally considered “wrong”. Because it is considered universally “wrong” and is universally “meaningful” to kids, it is a particularly appropriate way to look at ethics.
In addition to empowering kids to say no to shoplifting, the discussion of shoplifting teaches honesty, integrity, trustworthiness and a sense of justice and fairness which are critical values that enable young men and women to develop positive relationships and become good citizens.
The discussion of shoplifting in conjunction with character-education is a practical demonstration which can be used in our public schools while maintaining the “neutral and secular manner” required by constitutional law.
For information about including the topic of shoplifting in your character-education program, call toll-free 1-800-848-9595. To order shoplifting prevention posters click here.