Way back, when I was in high school, we had an English teacher who would pin up Norman Rockwell's artwork from the covers of The Saturday Evening Post magazines. At times, she would ask the class to choose one and write a poem, or an essay about what we saw. It was one of my favorite activities in any English class.
Long after I'd moved out of that classroom, one of my younger friends was a student there. She came to me one day and told me about that assignment. When I told her that I loved doing that sort of thing, she expressed her hatred for it. She told me she couldn't think of a thing to write. She'd described her choice of the Rockwell art to me, and I had to imagine it, while she actually saw it with her eyes. Then, we wrote our own pieces and we each shared what we'd written with each other. Later on that day, I'd gone home without any thought of the writing.
Little did I know that she'd copied and turned in my writing, with her name on it. She proudly let me know she'd received an A+ on the piece. I was livid at her deception, and yet I was pleased to think that my words had brought such a great grade. It was my first experience at plagiarism. I learned something that day which has stayed with me all this time. In fact, I learned a few things....one of which was not to trust that friend for she'd proved herself to be untrustworthy. The other thing was not to share any writing that I didn't want to risk losing to theft.
Sometimes we learn lessons the hard way, as gullible kids. Sometimes, I guess the hard way teaches in the best way.