Gideon came rushing around the corner at the sound of the door closing behind me. He apparently didn’t expect me to be coming in that way and was surprised to see me standing in the living room.

“Oh! Good. It’s you, Dad.”

I set down the things I had just carried in from the car and then eyed him curiously. “Who did you think it would be?”

“Me not know,” he shrugged. “It’s dark out and scary. I thought maybe you were a bad guy.”

“A bad guy?” I walked across the room and put a hand on his shoulder. “Well, I’m not a bad guy.” But then a thought crossed my mind. “Hey, Gideon. What would you have done if I HAD been a bad guy?”

“Oh,” he nodded, “I would have turned around and ran out the back door.”

We walked together in that direction, and I was satisfied with his answer. His mother was in the backyard, after all.

But he wasn’t finished. “Then I would have closed the back door so the bad guy couldn’t follow me.”


“And then,” he continued, “I would have caught the house on fire with the bad guy inside!”

“Whoa whoa whoa whoa!” I turned him around so I could look at him, and his face was glowing with pride. He didn’t see a single flaw in his plan.

“Let’s just…um…” I started to say. “How about, if you see someone in our house that you don’t know, you say, ‘Hi, I’m going to go get my mom and dad, just a second.’ and then you run and find us. You don’t have to worry about catching the house on fire. They might just be some neighbor kids or something, and mom and I can decide whether or not it’s worth burning the house down to get rid of them.”