When we got downstairs five minutes later, we looked around for the kids. Hmmm. Not in the back yard. Not in the living room. The front yard? Nope. A glance out the kitchen window, revealed them trudging along through the church yard next door, carrying bundles of blankets, toys, clothes and other stuff. Then the oldest left the four year old and the two year old alone and he came back to the house for water.
We went out in time to reassure the concerned jogger who was passing by and questioning the children that they were not really the cleanest, most tidy homeless people he'd seen in the area. Nor had their parents dumped them and left them to their fate.
After that, we let them trudge around the church yard a bit more, before explaining to them that they could not hike the neighborhood for the day and camp out all night by themselves. The seven year old thought it completely unfair that we had let him pack, make lunch and get so far with his plans before cutting him off. He couldn't understand how we possibly could have thought he wasn't intending to leave the premises.
We finally cleared that up and made sure the children understood that running away, even with the best of intentions, was not on the agenda. Where do they come up with these ideas?