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An ethics lesson from my son

July 2, 2011

We had gotten out of the Rainier Valley Safeway and were standing at our car when we discovered that Phil was still holding two packages of yeast and one packet of Italian dressing mix. In other words, we hadn’t paid for them.

“What should we do?” Liz asked.

We were running late. We had to get home and make dinner to bring to our friends’ house. The stowaway items were collectively worth less than $6 — not much compared to the $100 we spent at this store every week. I had been up since 3 AM and had spent the afternoon hacking away at blackberry bushes in our back yard. “Oh, let’s just get going,” I muttered.

At this Phil spoke up. “We’re going to steal?” he asked. His mind was not cluttered with my many unspoken rationalizations; all he knew was that we were about to take some things we hadn’t bought.

I turned briskly away from our car and headed back inside the store.

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