Sometimes in life, God places us in situations that can become an outstanding teaching moment. Such a situation occurred many years ago when I was driving on the New York State Thruway with my wife and son.
We got caught in a southbound lane traffic jam that didn’t move an inch for over a half hour. To our right was a beautiful apple orchard , and the apples were all ripe and ready for picking.
As we were sitting there, a child hopped out of the car in front of us, and started running towards the apple trees. He began to pick as many apples as he could hold and brought them back to his car.
Upon seeing this, many other kids jumped out of other cars and proceeded to pick more apples to bring back to their families.
It was at this point that my wife pulled out a plastic bag, gave it to our son Mike, and told him to go pick some apples.
” What are you doing? ” I asked. “Those apples don’t belong to us.”
My wife rolled her eyes, and continued to instruct Mike to pick the apples.
I grabbed the bag and said “You are missing an opportunity to teach your son a wonderful lesson, that it is not OK to steal, even if everyone else is doing it.”
She rolled her eyes again and told Mike to pick the apples. I looked at Mike and explained, in detail, why it was wrong.
Mike understood my message, and remained in the car.
A short time later, the traffic jam ended, and we headed home.
Now that Mike is an adult, I see the traits that we worked so hard to instill in him.
Among those traits are an abhorrence of stealing and cheating, and a resistance to do what “everybody else is doing”.
I like to think that the apple orchard incident played a role in making him the man he is today.