I went into my local fabric store this weekend to purchase three things: fabric for new kitchen curtains, a curtain rod, and a spool of thread. After standing in a rather long line to have the fabric cut, I found myself standing in a second long line at the checkout stand. When it was finally my turn at the cash register, I placed my items on the counter and paid for them. I wheeled my basket to the basket return, put on my coat, picked up my purchases and my purse, and walked out the first set of double doors to leave the store.
As I was standing in the alcove facing the second set of doors to the outside, a gentleman behind me asked me if I had left a spool of thread in the basket, and he handed me the thread. I thanked him, and then said, "Oh, I'll bet that didn't get on the ticket." He looked at me and said, "Well, you're home free now." His wife gave a little giggle. I stopped cold, and looked at him in amazement. The man stood there with his wife, and a child in a stroller. I was shocked at his attitude. What is he teaching his child? I turned around, went back in the store, and paid for the spool of thread.
This little family at the fabric store was what I would call an average American family. They were clean, well dressed, and looked like the perfect little family. Yet, something was obviously missing. We seem to have a generation of parents who have no scruples. This doesn't bode well for good parenting. What are we teaching the children?!
When we purchased our home almost 34 years ago, there was an orange tree in the front yard. We did not remove it, but have always been concerned about the liability of a child climbing the tree for an orange. Our answer to keeping the tree was to train all the neighborhood children that if they waited until Thanksgiving weekend (when the oranges were marginally ripe), they could knock on our door, and we would give them all the oranges they wanted. This kept them from climbing the tree, as well as teaching them to be honest and not steal the oranges. As new families moved into the neighborhood, we found ourselves constantly "training."
One day my husband and I pulled the car out of our driveway and headed down the street. In my rear view mirror, I noticed a young mother picking an orange off the tree for her son, who looked to be about 8 or 9 years old. I put the car in reverse, and upon reaching my home, asked her not to pick the oranges. The woman told me it was none of my business. I told her it certainly was my business, since it was my tree. Then I told her that she was teaching her child to steal. I told her that we had always shared the oranges, but that the children needed to wait until at least Thanksgiving weekend so the oranges were somewhat ripe, and then knock on the door. I explained that children needed to be taught honesty. She looked somewhat chagrined. I don't think she had even considered the fact that she was teaching her child to steal.
I hope that as my grandchildren watch the things that I do, they'll never see me do anything that is dishonest or shows bad character. Sometimes we all need a reminder to live "in the world, but not of the world." Just because everyone else appears to be doing something, doesn't mean that it is right. As morals continue to decay, I hope we can stand up for what is right and continue to make good choices.