I was in a grocery store recently and saw a woman and two young girls in the bakery department.

The woman took a tissue, reached into the doughnut case, took out two doughnut holes and gave them to her daughters, the older of whom was about 6 years old.

Both childrenimmediately started eating their treats.

The doughnut holes didn’t go into a bag, to be put on the counter, paid for, and then consumed. In fact, except for a crumpled piece of tissue easily disposed of or pocketed, there was no evidence that two doughnut holes were taken.

This would have been a “teachable” opportunity for the mother.

When she got to the cash register, did she tell the cashier about the two doughnut holes and have them added to her total bill?

If she did she would have taught her children that everything has a price and needs to be paid for and not stolen.

Or did she not mention the doughnut holes? Her older daughter, at least, would have absorbed the message that small things in a grocery store are OK to eat without having to pay for them.

I wasn’t at the cash register when she checked out, so I don’t know whether or not the doughnut holes were paid for.

What message did the mother give to her daughters? What unspoken messages do we all give our children when we go shopping?

Phyllis Hyde


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