A lovely letter from a 5 year old girl to the department store John Lewis makes the Daily Mail today. In it, she apologises for breaking a Christmas bauble and sends some coins in payment.
However I have slightly mixed feelings about this. Should the girl herself have been made to write the letter or wouldn't it have been better if the mother or father or grandparent, or whoever was with her at the time, had owned up on the spot and apologised to the shop assitants?
It smacks to me a bit of the adult trying to hide behind the child. After all, the child most certainly wouldn't have intended to break the bauble; it must have been an accident. And maybe the result of the child not being supervised adequately in the Christmas Decorations department. And we all know how many children are let loose around shops and restaurants nowadays, creating havoc as they run in amongst shoppers and shop-keepers alike, holding up waiters and waitresses and generally being in danger of being trampled under foot. And yet no one seems to discipline them; or simply to explain that when they are out and about in public places they should behave!
So I'm guessing that the responsible adult here must have known what happened and chose to turn a blind eye. And only on arriving home did they decide to try to make amends and get the little girl to write a letter.
Far better surely, for the child to be gently reprimanded on the spot, and for them both to own up – so that the youngster sees the consequences of her actions. She'd soon realise that although she'd made a mistake – once – it was not going to be the end of the world and she would be forgiven. The adult could then have produced payment and all would have been well.
Or maybe I've got it all wrong? But I'd be interested to hear from other grandparents how they'd have handled such a situation. And whether they agree with me that there are far too many loose canons (ie other peoples' children) careering around in public today!