I heard my friend Val tell this arresting story at a seminar this summer:
Years ago, as a high school senior she’d been crossing a few ethical and life-style lines.
One was this:
Her parents kept cash in an envelop in the house, and she’d gotten into the habit of dipping in and helping herself — without her parents’ knowledge or permission.
Suspecting something was amiss, her folks began checking the balance in the envelope on a regular basis, then confronted Val with their findings.
The timing was awkward: in three weeks she was due to leave the nest for college. This was the culmination of her childhood. She’d been caught red-handed.
Her mom and dad drove her to college and moved her into the dorms. The last thing her father said was this:
Val, we’ve never worried about what you’d do in life. We know you’ll be successful. What we’re concerned about is who you’re becoming as a person.
Then her folks left.
Val has told this story a hundred times in public. For some reason on this particular occasion, in a seminar where I sat spellbound, she cried. The memory was sharp, the pain still fresh, two decades after the matter.
I wonder at times who I’m becoming.