Friday, October 21, 2011

Kids Lie. Including Sweet, Kind and Devout Ones. Really.

There are two types of homeschooling moms who cause me to grind my teeth.

1) The moms who publicly declare: "We take a "real life" approach to math. We tripled a cupcake recipe this afternoon for today's math lesson. And tomorrow we are going to figure out how many $1.69 songs the kids can each by with a $40 iTunes giftcard. Because, you know, when are they ever going to use trig or calculus in real life?"

Seriously, I do not enjoy taking public scrutiny for these people who clearly are failing their children in the area of mathematics. And seriously, I know many people who use advanced math in real life: engineers, chemists, mechanics, etc. . .

I believe in allowing my children to have EVERY education/career option available to them upon turning 18, and that means that I have to provide them with some serious-ass math & science education (which also includes me getting them to the right teachers/schools/etc. if it is something that I myself am not qualified to teach.) And I'm tired of taking guff for the failings of others.

2) "Christian" homeschool moms who think their middle school aged children can do no wrong and would Not Never Ever think of lying or being mean or lying or doing anything other than holy and God-inspired actions.

This story is about the latter.

On Monday morning, I received a phone call from an *upset* Christian homeschool mom. Our daughters belong to our association's Tween Group (ages 11-13). The woman was dramatically upset and explained to me that Hatfield led a group of older children in a "bully charge" against a group of the newer, younger girls. These charges included:

* Using the "L" Word.
(insert her dramatic pause for this to take full effect)

The "L" word? Seriously? I am SO ASHAMED of myself in that I failed to think of a single good "L" word to question her with. If she had said, 'Hatfield used the "c" word," I would have dropped the c word. If she had said the "tw" word, I would have dropped that in questioning her. Same with the "f" word or the "a" word. But the "L" word? I had nothing.

Side story: I told Essie about this and she looked at me said, " Sarah. . .'lesbian.' That would be the L word that would spark fear and shame in the hear of any devout Christian homeschool ignoramus."

Doh! Man! I wish I had Essie's bad-ass, quick-on-her-feet, Dark Art of Snark.

Anyways, the "L" word that so shocked this woman and troubled her daughter to the point where she was now scared of attending future homeschool events was:

Loser.

Yes. Loser. Seriously. But more on that later.

Charge #2: Hatfield pushed a younger girl, pinning her up against a tree, all the while yelling and screaming, necessitating an older "sweetly devout and innocent" (I shit you not, that was the descriptor) girl to have to intervene to prevent Hatfield from hurting her.

My Hatfield? Seriously?

I asked the mom if she spoke to any other parents of the children involved (other than the mother of the sweetly devout and innocent girls), and she said "no." She even badmouthed another woman (who happens to be my friend), saying that the Mom was "aggressive and confrontational" and refused to call her.

Okey dokey.

Now, I'm not about to think my kids can do no wrong. And I was not about to think that Hatfield was innocent of all charges. But I can tell you that unless she was trying to protect another children from an assault or prevent an assault upon herself, the likelihood of Hatfield doing that to a child is pretty much nil.

And here's the thing: If you are going to make up nasty lies about my kid, yeah, you're going to piss me off. Big time.

So we talked to Hatfield about it. She totally admits that she, and everyone else she was with, were calling each other's Losers when one group disrupted the play of another group. But it lasted about a minute, and they all went off onto the next activity and got along as a group for the rest of the evening.

Which, maybe I'm not a good Christian mom, but, eh. If that's the worst thing my kid is involved with, I'll consider myself lucky and will do a cute "I have a decent middle schooler" happy dance.

But, Hatfield became TREMENDOUSLY upset over the accusation that she pushed her friend up against a tree. And screamed/yelled in this girls' face. Or was involved in anything that required a girl to "break it up."

She couldn't figure out why these girls singled her out as the big bully, or why they would make up such things.

So, last night, we saw this family of the said pushed/bullied younger girl. A family that we've been friends with--and our kids have been playmates with--for nearly 5 years.

When we talked about the accusations, their kids laughed. One even suggested that those girls had a "short term memory loss." They defended Hatfield and were upset that someone would even accuse her of such a thing.

So, armed with that information straight outta the horse's mouth, I emailed this mother:

Now, it seems to me that this is a case of kids with differing personality types in a large group setting. I think it's perfectly normal for a group of middle school age kids to struggle while they learn how to get along with different types of people.
Not everyone is going to feel the same way about different people. Some people don't mesh well. For instance, you explained to me that you felt ***** is an aggressive and combative person and therefore you would not call her. I, however, find her to be a completely delightful and charming woman and am puzzled by your callous description of her.
I get the fact that some of these girls probably don't mesh well. However, just because your girls don't care for Hatfield does NOT make it okay for them to make up a vicious rumor about Hatfield.
Making up and spreading lies about someone assaulting another child IS bullying. Hatfield is TREMENDOUSLY hurt and upset that these girls would do such a thing. The other kids we spoke with couldn't believe that such a lie would be told within a Christian group.
If any other families or children were told this lie about my daughter, we expect it to be redressed immediately. Because it is absolutely NOT okay with us that anyone spread a lie about my daughter assaulting another child.
Beyond that, I am done dealing with this issue. I'm sorry that some girls in the group do not care for Hatfield or the way the evening went. But honestly, after taking with other Tweens at the party, and now having to deal with this terrible lie that was stated about my daughter, I can't say that I find credibility in anything that your daughters say or do.

Now, you don't know just HOW BADLY I wanted to end the letter with:

"And you know, I'm not really certain of what types of games your family allows (her daughter was in the group of kids playing Ghosts in the Graveyard; my kid was in the group that messed with their game), but I find it both shocking and shameful that such a pagan-ritualistic game would be played at a CHRISTIAN homeschool event. My sweet, devout girl was incredibly uncomfortable with such a game being played, and maybe your girls didn't mean to make up lies about her but instead was possessed by whatever demonic spirits their heathenistic game conjured up. I propose we know get ALL activities at these gathering pre-approved by the Board so that my innocent girl won't be further subjected to such witchcraft."

just to mess with her and her high-brow, we-are-so-much-holier-than-you-Christian-bullshit-attitude. (We're all about Harry Potter and Halloween and Scary Movies in our house, so don't get the wrong idea there.)

But I didn't.

Of course, within moments of the letter, this woman telephoned me.

And you know what she had the balls to say to me? She said: "Really, this whole thing is about the name calling for my girls. The whole pushing thing was just an afterthought after we talked about the namecalling."

WTF?!?! "No, I'm afraid that the moment your daughters told a lie that Hatfield assaulted another child, then that lie because the WHOLE BIG DEAL thing to our family."

She constantly tried to backtrack on the whole pushing thing. She even went so far as to begin to question whether she may have recalled the pushed child's name incorrectly, until I informed her that she questioned her daughter as to who the "hurt" child was while I listened on the phone.

Met with an uncomfortable pause on her part. I refused to let her back down. She apologized, but just kept on saying, "I can't believe my daughters lied to me."

Well, believe it. Because they're kids. And kids lie. Not because they are inherently evil or hateful. But because it's part of the growing up and learning process.

But you know what the absolute worst was? From this Christian woman, whose own son had to be kicked out of their home due to erratic behavior? Was she said to me: "I know you've all had a lot of . . .changes.. . . in your home lately due to the boys' arrival, and I was wondering, you know, if maybe all that stressed changed Hatfield into a more aggressive person."

The fact that I did not Roar, Hang Up or drop the "F" bomb at that moment in the conversation is a testimony to. . . well, I'm not sure, but something good, right?

Instead, in the iciest voice I could muster was: "Now, really, I'm sure you more than anyone understands that just because a family has one troubled child in it doesn't mean that the sweet nature of our other children are compromised or changed. That would be a terrible thing to insinuate."

Very. Uncomfortable. Pause.

In the end, the woman went on (and on and on) about how she likes it when things are Happy and Friendly and for all the kids to be friends.

I explained that while I expect my daughter to be kind and respectful of all people (and we'll work on that, I assured her), I think it's silly to expect her to be friends with or like everyone.

Because if I make my daughter grow up thinking that she has to like everyone and everyone has to like her, then I am handing her a Life Sentence of Misery.

MISERY.

And I refuse to do that. My wish is for My children, to please be kind. Be respectful. And be wise enough to keep far away from Homeschool Moms who loudly acclaim their pre-teen daughters to be as devout and sweet and kind as Jesus himself. Far, far away. Because they're the worst of all.

2 comments:

geralyn said...

Seriously? The 'L' word? I couldn't figure out what in the hell it was either. I was thinking 'loo loo' in reference to a girls' hoo haw, but even that was a stretch. Seriously? Loser is a bad word? Well WTF. Slap me silly and call me a loser!

You know we had a similar situation with one chick in our HS group. She moved here from Missouri and is part of some fanatic group called "Jesus Camp" and they have some messed up beliefs...IMHO! Anyhow, her 9 year old son told other kids at gym that my boys were acting wild at basketball since my boys had been slaves and slaves are always violent and angry.

I too, confronted this weirdo mom who tried every conceivable lie to dig herself and her son out of the shit pile mess they made, before finally concedeing that her freak son often misinterprets lessons and he must have not understood his lesson on the Emancipation Proclimation.

She too, had a problem with my boys' potty mouths. I naturally assummed my kids had used some nasty words to include the f bomb, but to my delight found that the only utterance my boys said was to tell her kid he 'sucked' at basketball.

You handled the nut-job woman the best way possible; by backing her into a corner and not letting her wiggle out of her misdeeds. Now if only you could pull off a full-fledged biotch slap fest on her, I'd come out there and watch.

Tell Hatfield her open invitation to our crazy zoo is still open whenever she wants to come visit!! And we'll even put up with her friggin' dirty mouth!! Wahahahaha

xoxo, G

Anonymous said...

Years ago, there was a mother in an uproar about the use of the S word and the B word in her precious little daughter's class. The S word was Shut Up and the B word was Butt.