Years ago, when our two children were only five and seven years old, we lived in an apartment on a dead-end road. The neighbors all knew each other and did things with one another. We even knew each other's children by name. It was a safe, pleasant neighborhood and everyone watched out for one another's children when they got together to play with one another. Riding their bikes around the circle, visiting each other's houses to play, inside and outside at times.
One day in particular I remember looking out the window to see where our daughter was, and I observed her walking along the street kicking the pebbles with her little feet as she went along. Then I went back to doing what mothers do on a daily basis.
Suddenly the phone rang, and I answered it cheerfully. It was our neighbor who lived across from our apartment. In anger she told me, "Your daughter is over here throwing stones at our house!" She was obviously upset and quite angry with our daughter. I assured her I would deal with it even though secretly I was surprised to hear that Capitola would do such a thing.
I immediately went outside and hollered to our daughter to come home. I sat her down and told her that the neighbor called and told me, "You were throwing stones at their house.
That is wrong we don't throw stones at people's houses or at people in general. Because you did that now I have to spank you." Capitola started to cry and kept saying, "I didn't do it!" "I didn't do it!" Regardless, I choose to believe the adult and spanked our daughter for her bad behavior.
Now keep in mind, I never met this particular neighbor, nor did I really know them probably because they didn't have children. I had asked our neighbors about them previously because their curtains were always closed, and we never saw any signs of life at their place.
They were the mysterious couple in the neighborhood and that made me all the more curious about them and wary.
The next day my close friend in the neighborhood asked me to go for a walk which wasn't uncommon for us to do. While walking I shared with her the incident with the pebbles and how I spanked Capitola for it. She immediately responded with, "Capitola didn't throw stones at her house. I was watching and Capitola was just walking alongside the road kicking pebbles with her little feet." I was shocked, "That's just what I saw! Why would that lady tell such a lie about Capitola doing that?" My neighbor friend didn't know why she would've done that any more than I did. We just chalked it up to the fact that they were strange and different. Later when the kids got home from school, I took our daughter aside and explained to her that my close friend had verified her version of what had happened. And I told her, "I was wrong to spank you for something you did not do, and I hope you can forgive me." I also told her to, "Stay clear of that house and those people!"
I shared this story to illustrate how we as parents need to ask our kids forgiveness when we have been wrong about something or when we have unjustly punished them for something they did not do.