A Lesson in Baggy Shorts


You know how many young guys these days wear those baggy, long basketball shorts?  Well, here’s a great true story that was in our newspaper last week about a local teenager who paid a price for wearing those shorts that have really useless pockets.

The baggy-shorts-wearing 14 year old had been mowing lawns  to save for a $175 I-pod.  But, his parents didn’t let him save just that much … he was required to save significantly more than that before he was allowed to use the money for the I-pod.

Finally, he reached the required amount of saving to buy his I-pod.  So, he, his mom and his brother went to the mall where they first ate and then would go to Wal-mart to make the purchase.  He had his $175 in his Colts wallet, stuck in the loosy-goosy pocket of his baggy shorts. 

But, when they got ready to leave the restaurant, he checked for his wallet and it was gone!  He looked all around the table and it wasn’t there.  Mom suggested that it had probably dropped out in the car.  They went and checked — nope, not there.  Needless to say, he was distraught!  He asked Mom if he could possibly take another $175 out of his savings?  Nope.  She said he would have to wait to buy the I-pod after he had earned that much again.

But, because she really wanted him to be able to buy the I-pod  he had worked so hard to earn, when they got home Mom called the restaurant and the mall management, leaving a description of the wallet and their phone number.  Unfortunately, there wasn’t any ID in the wallet, so even if someone found it, they would have no idea who to contact directly; it would only be returned if it was turned in at a business.  And, even if that happened, what was the chance that the money would still be in it?  The story pointed out that as she did this calling, her husband and older son were telling her that it was no use and she was wasting her time.

But, the next day there was a call from a young college student.  She had found the wallet and when she went to the mall management office, they had given her the number to call.  Mom described the wallet and the girl confirmed that that was the wallet, but she hadn’t mentioned the money yet.  So, Mom asked about it, hoping illogically that at least some of it might still be in there.  She told the girl that there had been $175 in it.  The girl said there still was!

So, Mom arranged to meet the girl and retrieve the wallet. 

When her son came home from school, of course, he was delighted to get his wallet back … and the money!  But, wait, there was only $125.  

Mom explained that the girl had, in fact, returned the full amount, but that she had given her a well-deserved $50 reward out of the money.   And now, because he was so blessed that an honest person had found and returned his money, instead of having to re-earn the full amount, he would only have to earn an additional $50 so that he could get his I-pod!

Hubby and I thought the mother handled this situation so wisely.  She was loving and supportive of her son, but that didn’t keep her from letting him suffer the consequences of his actions.

I don’t know if this lesson made the teenager give up the baggy shorts, but if he is still wearing them, I bet he doesn’t put anything of value in the pockets any more.

8 Responses to A Lesson in Baggy Shorts

  1. Beth says:

    I agree that the mom did a great job showing her son grace (making the calls for him) but also letting him learn very real-life consequences.

    There is one thing that bothers me, though. I wonder if she made it clear to her son that while he couldn’t get the $50 back, it wasn’t ethically okay for the girl to take it. I would just want to make sure he understood that, because who knows?–next week he may be the one finding a wallet. And I’d want to make sure he knows that the right thing to do is to give ALL the money back.

    I hope I’m not being too critical. Mom handled it well, and her son learned some really important lessons. I just think there was that one other lesson that I would have wanted to teach, if it were my child.

  2. Hilary says:

    If they’re the baggy shorts I’m thinking of, I’m surprised the weight of his money-laden wallet didn’t embarrass him by falling, and taking the shorts with it.

    Mom did indeed handle it well. Her son got lessons in savings, caution, backtracking, how to inquire and most importantly, rewarding someone for their helpfulness and honesty. I’d say he learned many things of value that day.

  3. Sandra says:

    Beth — I should probably clarify that the girl WAS returning the wallet with ALL the money in it — it was the mom who gave her a reward, that she took out of the boy’s money. I probably didn’t say it in a clear enough way, but I actually think the girl was a perfect example of how an honest person would/should handle the situation. Considering there was no ID in the wallet, I think there are alot of people who would not have tried too hard to find the owner.

    Hilary — Of course, I didn’t see the shorts, but I’m picturing the same ones you are. In fact, in the article it mentioned that the mom had even thought about offering to put the wallet in her purse but then decided he needed to be allowed to be responsible for his own money.

    I think too that she used the whole chain of events to teach him multiple valuable lessons.

  4. Margaret says:

    Great story, it’s not too often I hear about honest citizens or excellent parenting!

  5. Sandra says:

    Margaret — Exactly. These are the kind of stories we need to hear more often!! 🙂

  6. Beth says:

    Sandra–No, it was I who didn’t read your post carefully enough! I completely misread that paragraph and thought the mother had explained away the theft. Okay, I’m glad to hear that’s not what happened, and I think the mother handled it beautifully! I love that she gave the girl a reward; it was definitely deserved and helped to hammer the lesson home to her son too! Great story!

  7. Sandra says:

    Beth — Once you explained how that read to you, I can see that. So, I re-wrote that part of the story.

    Sometimes, because I KNOW the story I leave out facts or even neuances that are needed to make the story clear to a reader. A good reminder for me, friend. Thank you!

  8. loopflash says:

    you just got yourself a place in my bookmarks

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