Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Liar in the Dell

People talk about lying frequently these days. It's even become a main character in House with Hugh Laurie. "Everybody lies," he says.

It's probably true. I know I've lied. I like to think it's a thing of the past, but -- good GRIEF -- sometimes it seems more important to be NICE.

My mother was awfully insistent upon TRUTH. Funny. She's not a very honest person. I'm thankful that she insisted upon honesty from me. She didn't with my siblings -- probably ran out of energy.


Not long after I met Joe he told me a truth I wasn't ready to hear at the time. He said, "Kari, your mom lies to you. She doesn't know ANYTHING. Stop blabbing." He was right. She'd say something to me like, "Why did I hear you were in St. Cloud??!!??" and my immediate and tell-all response would be something like, "We weren't in St. Cloud. We were in Elk River." I'd wear a marvelously confused expression on my face too. My expression was honest. My mother's "I heard from someone..." was a lie. Mind you, her lies still work on me.

I've discovered I don't have any feelings one way or the other about liars. Lying, really, is a problem for the liar. Isn't it?

I find I need to spend my time on my own growth, health, and development than on someone else's. I take people as they wish to have me take them. If they lie... well, seriously, what can I do about it? I take them at face value. If someone were to ask forgiveness for lying to me, how could I refuse? Jesus tells us that our sins will be flung as "far as the east is from the west." I wouldn't dare deny forgiveness.

You can spend an awful lot of time trying to "suss out" the truth. (What can I say? I've been reading Elizabeth George!)

We had a Situation at work this year. It was trying for me as an employer, a wife, and a daughter. Keep in mind, I work for my dad and with my husband.

An employee's daughter made a rude and ugly comment at me. Let me give you a little history. I'll follow with the story.

We love it when our employees bring their children.

First, it helps them financially. Daycare is expensive and bus driving doesn't pay outrageously well.

Second, we love kids. Obviously! We wouldn't be in business without kids to take to and from school.

Third, I love kids. I love their exhuberence and joy. I love their simplicity. I love when they are loved and love in return. I love them.

Fourth, I love girls. I don't have one. I don't want one for myself. But I love the daughters of our employees, generally and specifically.

One little girl comes to my office every morning to feed my puppy. She makes sure he has food and water. She comes back after morning routes to help open the mail. Sometimes she answers the phone (yikes!). Other days, she shares fashion tips.

Another little girl cannot ride the bus with her mom. She learned to say the f-word. Yes. The f-word. She said it a couple times and when I found out, we had to "expel" her from the bus. Most of the time her mom has daycare. Twice this year she didn't, so the girl spent the day with our dispatcher and I. Fun. We went for walks, colored pictures, and hoorayed "potty" efforts. It was part of what makes me love my job with my entire being.

And yet.

There's always one person who is a destroyer. In our case, this person happens to be the daughter of an employee. Unfortunately, she is a liar. Apparently her mother is too.

We didn't object to this daughter riding with this mother. Why would we? We love kids. We love that our employees love their children. We love that we can help facilitate that.

One morning in response to my "Good Morning!" the young lady said something rude and inexcusable. Instead of admonishing her, her mother gasped a little and laughed.

I didn't do anything either, except decide that I've had enough of early mornings at our company. I'm a morning person by nature. I love being up and at work. If I can't be here, Joe must. He is not a morning person and dislikes being early.

Later that morning I told Joe, "I'd rather you came early so I don't have to." He wanted to know why. I told him.

Joe, always one to listen to both sides of the story, asked the employee about what happened.

Can you believe the employee lied to Joe about what her daughter said? First, the story was that the girl didn't say it. Later, the story was that they were having a conversation and I only heard the tail end of it.


Not only did she deny it, she suggested I had used a child to further my own agenda.


So now we will create a policy. We will take action to make sure that parents take responsibility for their children in our office and on our buses. The girl in question will never ride with her mother again. (Of course, she may always ride as an assigned attendee of the school on her assigned bus.)

And what's the worst thing?

I refuse to be alone with anyone's child again. I can't afford the implication that I would wrongfully accuse or misunderstand or mishandle a child.


I still love.