Have you ever left Halloween candy out for kids to self-serve because you wouldn’t be home? (Or, during this pandemic, because you didn’t want to open the door?)
I have. And so have some of my neighbors.
This past Halloween a neighbor posted in our ‘hood’s group that one group of kids had taken all the candy. They left the bowl, but took the entire contents leaving none for others.
It takes a lot to shock me these days, but the online discussion truly did. Here’s what some wrote:
“Just kids having fun.”
“If they take all the candy, it’s not stealing. If they take the bowl, it is.”
“What do you expect, leaving it all out there?”
I’ve been concerned for some years now about the degradation of values and this discussion sent me over the top.
Those kids were stealing. Sure, “just” candy. But stealing. Is that how to define fun?
Whether they took the bowl or not, they were taking what did not belong to them.
And the expectation that this would happen? It says so much about today’s values.
One reason I feel such a pull to the Greatest Generation was that for the most part, their values on things like this were front and center. No, it wasn’t a perfect era, no era is. But people helped each other and if you left a bowl of Halloween candy out, you wouldn’t expect kids to steal it. Their parents would have taught them differently.
Values are one of the many concerns I have about what’s happened to our country since that awful man was in the White House. The lack of civility. The dearth of human decency. And of course, the damage to our democracy.
But when adults defend kids who take what’s not theirs to take, it shows how steep a fall American values have taken. And I fear it won’t improve in my lifetime.
That’s a scary thought.