Social Question

auhsojsa's avatar

Can you help me make amends?

Asked by auhsojsa (2511 points ) February 8th, 2012

I stole my friends GameBoy and Pokemon cards when I was a kid. After his parents had taken me in and took care me like their own. I was in the 5th or 6th grade when I did this. I need to tell their father how sorry I am. I want to pay them back but I’m super broke. This has been heavy on my soul but I guess I’ve learned from it and have never stolen from a friend afterwards. Some ideas I have is to contact their dad, (Uncle Brian) and come clean and offer perhaps yard work service (I think that sounds super sketchy, I’m now 24 and in college unemployed) Anyhow, what would you recommend?

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12 Answers

Bellatrix's avatar

What about sending a letter owning up? Tell them how much it has played on your minds and ask them what you can do to make restitution? You could offer to do some jobs certainly, see if there is something you can do to try to put things right.

GladysMensch's avatar

Just call him up and come clean. I’m sure you can work something out if you’re sincere (which it sounds as though you are). You were eleven years old. I’m betting Uncle Brian will understand.

Bellatrix's avatar

Mind not minds… I am sure you only have one.

bkcunningham's avatar

@auhsojsa, call him and speak it from your heart, just like you wrote it here. Ask him how you can make it right. I bet he tells you to forget about it that your apology is enough. You warmed my heart with your words. I’m really glad you saw the error of your ways and you had someone as nice as Uncle Brian to help guide you. He must be a good guy to have helped shape you into the adult you are becoming. Good job. Just call him and tell him it is bothering you. Best wishes.

wundayatta's avatar

I hope they haven’t forgotten it. Because if they have, and you remind them, you could be opening a big can of worms and they may never trust you as much as they do now again. Then again, they may think it nothing.

talljasperman's avatar

offer to let your friend steal something important to you from you….if you have lots of money it won’t matter much, it means more when you don’t have anything. You need your school books don’t you; they are important? Ask them and see what they say.

I heard of a similar situation but about assault with a safety pin. The person was given a chance to hit back and they refused… the parent asked why not and they said “because it is wrong” and then the parent looked back and said back to the child “see it is wrong” the person apologized and never hurt another person again.

Jeruba's avatar

Go see Uncle Brian if you feel that he’s the one you actually injured by betraying his trust and also costing him money. Take him a token gift if you can, something small but perhaps symbolic, such as a loaf of nice bakery bread. Make your apology, and be sure to explain what effect it has had on you to have this on your conscience: that it made you change your ways. Don’t ask for anything but his forgiveness, but do tell him you want to make it up to him. Offer to do the yard work.

If he’s the kind of person who’d take in a kid and treat him as one of his own, he is probably also the kind of person who understands that you can come to a point in your life where making amends is important, and also the kind who knows what it means to forgive. But regardless of how he responds, you have to make the amends for your own growth, unless to do so would injure him or others.

zensky's avatar

I second that. Nicely put @Jeruba

CWOTUS's avatar

I doubt if your friend’s (or friends’ (?) it’s not clear) father has noted or would care about that loss. When I buy toys for my kids I don’t keep an accounting of what happens to the toy afterward. If my kid lost it, broke it or gave it away I may not notice, unless I’m asked to replace it.

So the people you need to make amends to are your friends. The ones you actually stole from. And they probably already knew that you had done the deed, so the confession will only salve your conscience. As for amends, I’d say you should ask them, “What would make this right with you?” They might tell you to forget about it, since it has been so long and they already dealt with the loss. In that case you could offer them some token “so that you could feel you returned something to them”, and (don’t be a cheapskate here) you could do something for some other kids who have been harmed by loss, in their honor.

Your uncle probably would have little or no recollection of Pokemon or GameBoy cards, but his kids would. They would remember how they felt when they noticed the loss. So your debt is to kids, not uncles.

JaneraSolomon's avatar

In the movies and on TV, someone confesses a crime and everyone lives happily ever after. In real life, however, it often blows up in your face. Sometimes it’s best to make amends quietly, and keep your damned mouth shut. This is the advice usually given by professionals to husbands who feel guilty at having cheated, for instance. They think that by “coming clean” their conscience will be cleansed, but instead, they unleash a torrent of never ending abuse, followed by a bitter divorce. Make a point of doing something nice for this family at regular intervals, and STOP EXCUSING YOURSELF because you’re poor or busy. If you feel guilty but you excuse yourself from taking action because you’re too busy or too poor, you are indeed guilty, and your conscience is only pointing out the obvious.

longtresses's avatar

I can’t believe Pokemon has been around for that long. You must be the early generation; my now-teenage relatives were collecting these cards not that long ago..

I agree with @JaneraSolomon that you can’t be too poor or too busy to make amend. But you want to live from the future, not living out of the past—meaning, if you were to confess it would be out of the vision of the future, not because you need to confess and therefore would do it regardless of consequence.

What would best serve the harmony of this relationship? What would best serve them? Was their loss dear and they have not put it behind? Would the relationship be colored with guilt from now and on if you come forth? When would be a good occasion? Hopefully not during a Christmas party and you were drunk..

john65pennington's avatar

Confession is good for the soul and your conscious is bothering you and that is a good thing.

Call and confess. He may already know the answer.

You never know.

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