by Hershel Dyer
Some years ago, one of our popular magazines carried the following story. A four-year-old boy plucked a rose from a neighborhood yard and took it home to his mother. Inquiring as to where he had gotten it, she made him take it back and say he was sorry. This was not easy, since he had thought he was showing love to his mother. While the neighbor lady fed him a piece of cake, her husband went and cut a dozen roses. She then sent the little fellow home with the roses and a note which said: “Please accept these from a little boy who picked the wrong rose and the right mother.”
It is not always easy to say, “I am sorry.” Depending upon the person and the circumstances, these can be three of the hardest words a person ever utters. Pride will often interfere with such an acknowledgment. These three words are a confession that one has been wrong or mistaken. A proud heart does not wish to own up to weakness or fault. Only when the heart becomes truly humble will these words sincerely come forth.
The wise questioning of this mother and her ready response made her worthy of the neighbor’s praise. She was teaching her boy, in a hard way to be sure, that it is wrong to steal — to take without permission the property of another. She was also teaching him that doing wrong can have some unpleasant consequences.
Character begins to be formed very early in life. Moral precepts and the consequences of departing from these are so indispensable to good character. If the boy in the above account still lives, he became a man a good while back. It is doubtful that he will ever forget the lesson of his mother so early and so indelibly taught.
But we must also appreciate the graciousness of the neighbor who received the boy’s apology. She could have said, “You’re a naughty boy for stealing! Don’t ever come into my yard again!” Instead, she accepted his apology and rewarded him for doing the right thing.
by Hershel Dyer