Just five minutes ago, the doorbell rang and there stood the porter of our building bearing gifts: a frisbee, a fork, two pacifiers and a kippah. In case you are wondering why I am accepting weird presents from other men, these are actually items that belong to us. They are also all items that have been thrown out of the window these past few days by one of our children.
I am not quite sure when it happened but we are having some serious throwing issues in our home. Now that the weather is warmer, the windows are open and my children see this as the perfect opportunity to see what happens when you drop something out the window. Thankfully, most of our windows face the yard of our building so I don't need to worry about hitting anyone in the head. But I do need to worry about things disappearing and breaking.
A few weeks ago on shabbos, Y threw some kippot and a brand new shoe of mine out the window. By the time I asked the doorman about it two days later, he told me that they had found the stuff, assumed it was trash and thrown it out! There went a perfectly good pair of shoes and three kippot valued at about 10 dollars each. From then on, we established with the workers in our building that if they find something in the yard and it does not look like trash, it is probably ours. In this manner we have gotten sweaters back, more kippot and some miscellaneous toys.
The bigger issue is really that one day they may throw something valuable- like a phone, keys, wallet out the window. Or they may actually injure someone. Clearly this is not a good game and we are working on it. We are thinking of installing screens. That takes care of the problem, but I worry that it does not really teach my children anything. There are so many things in this apartment that are locked up or out of reach so as not to tempt the children. While I do think it is necessary for safety reasons, I also think it does not really teach them any self-control or boundaries.
So for now we will work on getting some screens and until they come, we will keep a watchful eye out for those little hands reaching out windows. And hoping that the message of "We don't throw. It is not safe" and some consequences will finally penetrate.
Any advice? What would you do?