Florida mom Haley Hassell noticed that her 6-year-old daughter, Presleigh, was nervous since starting first grade. So as good moms do, she tried to make her feel better and thought she had the perfect remedy.
Daughter throws mom’s gift in the trash
Presleigh was asking for a LOL-brand pencil box, like the one other kids had in her class, so Haley decided to pick one up when she was out shopping for school supplies. Finally, after three stores she bought one as a surprise.
But she didn’t get the reaction she expected.
“Presleigh learned a tough love lesson today,” the mom wrote in a 2019 Facebook post. “I went to 3 different stores to get that LOL pencil box you see in the trash there. When I surprised her with it this afternoon (just knowing she would be ecstatic) she stared at it and threw it in the trash and slammed the bedroom door. She yelled ‘that’s stupid, everyone in my class has that..I don’t want it anymore!’ ..WHHHHAT STOP COME AGAIN?”
Transforming anger into a valuable lesson
Haley was shocked by her daughters response.
“So by this time there was probably smoke coming out of my ears and I’m trying real hard not to completely lose it on this kid that I have worked so hard to completely take care of financially on my own & make sure she always gets what she needs and then some,” she wrote. “BUT I thought I had always taught her to be grateful & know how lucky she was but apparently sis needed a small wake up call!!”
So, Haley got creative.
“SO before completely going Madea mad on my child I check myself and say, “okay that’s fine, let me go get the one you’re going to use”…came back with her new pencil box, which is the Ziploc bag.”
As to be expected, the 6-year-old didn’t like the Ziploc pencil box very much.
“She lost her mind! Suddenly the LOL Box she just trashed was good enough and the Ziploc bag was horrible…but it’s too late for all that.”
Instead of caving into her daughter’s disappointment, the mom transformed the dramatic situation into a learning lesson about helping others.
“I told her to get the LOL out of the trash and we would be finding a child to give it to tomorrow..one whose mommy and daddies don’t have money for any school supplies or someone who may not even have a mommy or daddy,” Haley wrote. “I explained to her she’s not entitled to anything special and she is taking for granted how lucky she is… So for now she will be using a Ziploc bag & will personally be delivering the nice box to a child that could benefit from it.”
Haley concluded the post with a valuable lesson about gratitude.
“Maybe I overreact sometimes but I would’ve done anything to have all the things she does as a child. I truly believe changing your perception & just being grateful can turn around any situation in life.“
Teaching the importance of gratitude
The mom’s post has since earned more than 135,000 reactions and she was interviewed on Good Morning America. She got a lot of positive feedback, but also faced some criticism.
“I got personal messages in my inbox saying that I was a monster mother … they were saying I was a bad parent and bad parents raise bad children,” she told GMA. “I was just on a rant when I wrote it. I didn’t think people were going to share it. People were saying I was publicly shaming my daughter, which I don’t really agree with.”
The pencil case story has a happy ending. Presleigh ended up mailing it to a 5-year-old girl in Utah as well as some other school supplies.
“Presleigh thought that was really cool. She understood once we were shopping for other children,” Haley said, adding that it gave Presleigh “perspective.”
“Having a positive outlook can make or break you in life — I want her to know that,” she added. “Nothing is going to be easy, but when something is given to you, you’ve got to be grateful.”
It’s always good to be grateful
Money doesn’t grow on trees. So it was understandable that this mom was upset when her daughter didn’t want the gift she worked so hard to get. But instead of getting angry, as many of us would be, this mom did something far more constructive. She punished her daughter while at the same time showing her the importance of both giving and of gratitude. And those are lessons we all need to be reminded of at any age.
More uplifting stories:
Always be grateful for the little things
“Gratitude is a powerful catalyst for happiness. It’s the spark that lights a fire of joy in your soul.” – Amy Collette