Category 2 – Subcategory: Stealing
Nathalie’s birthday will be celebrated this afternoon. Mother has piled all sorts of delights on the room’s large table: cake, chips, cheese, meatballs, and so on. In the room, there is also a little table. There are some biscuits and cheese sticks on the tiny table as well. Nathalie and her younger brother Tim are told by their mother that they can take whatever they want in the afternoon. However, they are not permitted to take anything from the small table. Everything on it is designed specifically for Granny. Granny is allergic to a variety of things, therefore Mother has purchased and arranged specific items for her. It gets packed in the afternoon. There are numerous family members and friends. Everyone is having a good time and eating tasty food.
Nathalie enjoys whatever her mother cooks. But that little table…it piques her interest. She approaches it and examines it carefully. It appears to be satisfactory. “Don’t touch it, that’s for Grandma,” her mother says in her brain. Would Grandma mind if she tried just one biscuit? Would it be noticed if she ate one?
Nathalie takes one biscuit and devours it. Is that right or wrong?
The ethical question that arises here is how Nathalie should handle the temptation to eat something from the small table of treats that have been set out specifically for her grandmother, even though her mother has forbidden it. The ethical considerations in this situation include:
Respect for the wishes and needs of others: Nathalie’s mother has clearly indicated that the treats on the small table are intended for her grandmother, who has allergies. Respecting her grandmother’s wishes and needs is important out of compassion and consideration for her grandmother’s health.
Honesty and obedience: Nathalie is faced with the choice of following her mother’s instructions, even if no one might notice if she were to take a cookie. This relates to the ethical principles of honesty and obedience to rules and agreements.
Consequences and trust: Taking a cookie can have unintended consequences, even if no one immediately notices. It could damage her mother’s trust if it is discovered later, and it could also jeopardize her grandmother’s health if the treats contain allergens to which her grandmother is allergic.
The ethical choice Nathalie makes will depend on her personal values and principles. She can choose to respect her mother’s instructions, even if she is curious about the treats, as an act of respect and obedience. On the other hand, if she chooses to take a cookie, it could affect her moral integrity and her mother’s trust. It is important for her to carefully consider what the right ethical decision is for her in this situation.
By Angelique Sijbolts
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