It was a bone-chilling Halloween night, leaving our legs and fingertips tingling from the cold. My friend Linda, my older sister Marianne and I were making our way back home, three long blocks away, after filling our sacks with candy. Linda complained that her thighs were numb, so we had a brilliant idea. “Let’s cut through.” We knew we would save time by cutting through people’s property, even though we knew it wasn’t socially acceptable. And so the cut-through began. First Dennison, then Lexington, then our street, Northfield. Just three blocks. We picked up our pace. Our short steps turned into long jogs.
I was quite proud of my sweets stash. My new orange plastic pumpkin with the black handle was chock full of candies and goodies. I knocked on a lot of doors to earn that candy. I couldn’t wait to get home to show my parents.
From the darkness between Lexington and Northfield came two masked teenage boys, much taller than us, running, shouting “A-r-r-r-r-r-r” and grabbing at our goodies. I fell down, and so did my teeming pumpkin, spilling some contents on the ground. I was so startled, I didn’t even stop to retrieve my lost candy. The three of us ran as fast as we could to Northfield. We stopped to catch our breath only when our feet touched the sidewalk. That experience left such an indelible impression on my young eight-year-old mind that I vowed never to cut through people’s property ever again. (The impression, of course, was reinforced by my parents when my sister and I told them what happened).
The experience taught me an important life lesson: When you think of taking short cuts, don’t. Take the long way around. In the end, you will be safe (or even sane) and further ahead in the process.
How often does that little voice inside of you say “Oh, just put in the basic information. No one will know the difference.” Taking the time to think something through, do the extra research or write a content-rich report is worth it in the end. Next time you’re tempted to take that shortcut, take the long way around instead.