Example and Precept

My father had lots of fun ways to teach lessons. One day he put a bowl of candy on his desk. Sure enough pieces of candy began to disappear throughout the next several days. One night he came home for prayer time and brought the bowl of candy with him. He pointed out that several pieces of candy were gone.

“Did I offer anyone a piece of candy?” he asked.

We all looked around the circle shaking our heads. A few notable guilty expressions from various petty thieves were obvious, including my own little fat face.

Father said, “I want to be able to trust my family to not touch things on my desk. If you see something anywhere that isn’t yours, don’t take it without permission. Even if you are all alone in the room, who can see you?”

“Heavenly Father!” we all chorused.

“That’s right,” Father said with a smile. “Let’s have clean hands and pure hearts. Remember, I’m your cute little Dad, and you are my cute little Kiddos. I want to trust you.”

Father replenished the candy bowl and put it back on his desk. By the next weekend, fewer pieces had disappeared when he called for an accounting. It had been a sore temptation for me. Several times I had walked by Father’s empty office. Nobody was looking. How easy it would be to snitch just one little piece. But I couldn’t get past the fact that an unseen Witness saw everything.

We gathered for prayer time once again that weekend, and Father brought the candy bowl. He noted that fewer pieces were gone and pointed out the improvement. Again he voiced the lesson that God sees all we do. Again he said he wanted to trust his family to not touch things that didn’t belong to us.

Father filled the candy bowl and put it back on his desk. Another couple weeks went by of trial, some error, and then an accounting and assessment time. Finally, after about a month, he brought the candy bowl to prayer time completely intact. He was thrilled. The rest of us were too.

Father passed the candy around and admonished us to keep on being the good kids we were.


Memoir by Maggie Jessop Jeffs publishing soon