I think I just saw a boy become a man — a good man. He was standing tearfully at our screen when I answered the doorbell, his mother next to him. He was tall, slender, about an eighth-grader.
“I lied to my parents about what we did last night,” he choked out. “My friends and I rang doorbells in your neighborhood in the middle of the night. I’m sorry.”
His tears ours, we couldn’t choke out a response. His mother jumped in: “We’re trying to find people they disturbed so he can apologize. The boys were selfish and foolish. They hurt others and could have been shot.” She wasn’t excusing, covering up or berating. It wasn’t for her son but with her son.
And we were total strangers. She could have scolded privately without ever exposing either to public humiliation. Instead she modeled love and character. She offered her son responsibility, and he grasped it.
Thanks, mom. You two are worth a midnight doorbell. We hope to see the fruit of your parenting. We did that with our son 30 years ago, and he’s a very good man today.
Johnny V. Miller