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 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 too 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 black and white 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
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 starting a program in your school or
agency visit the Honest To Goodness Project.
For information, member benefits or to become a member of
the National Shoplifting
For public education and statistics about the shoplifting
problem visit the National
Learning and Resource Center.
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