Step It Up:
Keep It Simple:
Penny Candy Lesson
When I was a kid we lived near a convenience store that sold penny candy. For those of you who might be a little younger, this was candy that actually lived up to it’s professed name… candy that only cost a penny! Our uncertain times of inflation have reached down to the youngest member of society and penny candies are rarely found any more. As a kid it was one of my greatest joys to do down to the store and buy my very own candy. Sour Patch Kids, Swedish fish, gummy bears… mmmm… my mouth just waters thinking about it all. It was in this same store where I learned a very powerful lesson about honesty that has stayed with me my whole life.
To get the candy at the store you would go inside and get a small paper brown bag and carefully count the items one at a time as you put them into your bag. This was no easy task for a young child with the attention span of a fruit fly, especially when counting dozens and dozens of little Swedish fish, only to devour them 15 minutes later. You would then tell the cashier the number of candies you had in your bag and pay for them. I don’t think they had the time or patience to deal with all of us kids. The honor system was a real and living thing I saw each day.
One day I had gotten my little stash from the store, dutifully paid my 45 cents and gone outside to enjoy the “sugars” of my labors. I decided on this particular day to count the penny candy again. When I got done, I realized that I had mistakenly put too many pieces of candy into my little brown bag. Then came the decision… a mammoth decision for me as a small child. I didn’t have any more money… and I had extra candy. Yes!! Or… maybe I should go back inside and tell them I had too many pieces of candy and give the extra’s back.
Well, I struggled for a few minutes and ultimately decided to follow the counsel of my parents, Sunday school teachers, and the Holy Ghost and went inside and explained what had happened to the clerk. A smile crossed their face and they said it was okay and that I could keep the extra candy.
My surprise and delight was only eclipsed by the feeling that was growing in my young heart. It felt good to tell the truth. It felt good to be honest. I’m sure I struggled with honestly hundreds of times in the months following that incident and thousands of times since, but in that moment I knew the real rewards of true honesty. I understood how the Holy Ghost comes into our lives as we are honest.
Each day we are faced with dozens and dozens of decisions. In the face of peer pressure we too often make the wrong decision and stretch the truth, and distance ourselves from the Spirit of the Lord. May be all remember the lessons of a small boy when facing these crossroads and choose the path that we know leads to happiness, both in this life and the life to come