The Honesty of a Five-Year-Old

I went trick-or-treating tonight with my three boys (ages 5, 3, and 1). It was good fun watching them traipse around our neighborhood as Darth Vader, Obiwan Kenobi, and Yoda. We were accompanied by some friends from church with kids of similar ages.

As is often the case, there were houses with candy out front in a bowl and nobody minding the door. Most of them simply put out the candy knowing that whatever happens, happens. There was one though that put out a sign asking the kids to take only one piece. At least I assume that’s what the sign said. I didn’t make it all the way up to the door – the little one was tired and being carried by that point.

I heard the older ones up at the door working meticulously through the wording of the sign (they can read, but lots of hand-written words in poor lighting is a bit of a tall order). As I listened I heard them debating. They were working through the sign to determine just how many pieces they were allowed to take. I had to smile.

I suspect it won’t be too many years before they figure out that those rules have no enforcement arm behind them. The very fact that they left the candy out and went to bed means they don’t care about how much you take. (Oh, they care enough about making sure there is enough for everybody to actually take the time to write a sign … but nothing that causes them any real effort.)

For now though, the kids follow the “rules” …

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