We feel that it is important to update you all on the resolution of Casper’s “incident”. We will make it brief because we want to move on from this. I (Lauri) would also like to explore another topic that this brought up for me. I hope you all will indulge me in this. It does not pertain to Casper or disabilities, but I think it is something we should find important.
First, though, Dan’s update:
This week we have reached some resolution to the interaction between Casper and the child who made the false accusation against him. Finding this resolution was multi-tiered. The first step was a meeting between us, representatives from the board of directors and the minister. The meeting went well, concerns were voiced and everyone was heard respectfully. We were able to learn that existing policies regarding the behavior of children and their proximity to their parent/guardians will be enforced. We agreed that the Casper meet and greet process needed to be modified. In the past we allowed socialization at any time while attending church. In the future we are asking that the sanctuary and common halls be working areas, while the community room would be a good place for everyone to have the opportunity to show Casper some love. The second tier to this resolution came in the form of request to speak at a town hall style meeting so that I could share a few key points regarding expected behaviors around a service animal in an effort to educate. Of course, we took the opportunity. The talk and follow-up questions went quite well. We view this as an opportunity to begin a new chapter in educating people about service dogs. It has been our feeling that eventually we will become speakers on the subject in some capacity and this was our first chance to give it a try.
Moving on I (again, Lauri) would like to make it very very clear that we hold no grudge or resentment toward the boy who told this fib. We truly believe that was all it was, a fib. He was caught doing something he knew was wrong so he tried to distract from that with a tall tale. That is absolutely normal for young kids. As I have said before, we all did that as children.
What bothers us, and what we are having a really hard time with still, is the life given to this lie and that is what I want to write about. For me lying is the incredibly hurtful. I did more than my share of it as a kid/teenager but as I grew up I realized how much it hurt me to be lied to and decided I did not want to make someone else feel that way. At first I learned to just omit the truth rather than lie. Then after I got even older I made a very strong effort to not even do that. There have been times I slipped and kept this or that to myself, but I like to set an example for my own kids so I do my best not to lie or omit truths.
Let me tell you here that so far this example I have set has not taken root. Our kids are liars. They are VERY bad about it. We are currently dealing with this issue. They both have been hiding homework and playing us against their dad and step-mom because they knew they could. They could do this because we made a BIG mistake. Their father and I do not like to speak to each other unless under dire circumstances, therefore the kids have used this to their benefit. By not comparing notes they can tell us different stories and no one is the wiser. Our mistake gave life to their lies and gave them power. This is exactly what happened with the Casper incident. The lie was given life by the adults who believed it and took it to a higher level.
I am happy to say that both households are now on the same page and we are communicating on every single thing the kid say. Their teacher’s are on board now too and emailing us when assignments are not received. They are in a homework lock-down and grounded until… possibly forever, if things do not get better. The kids have had a very rude awakening because we have chosen to take all the power away from their lies.
Sadly, we do not feel that this other family has done anything to lessen the power of their boy’s lie. Despite the meetings we have had we still feel very hurt by the way things were handled. Dan and I both have a lot of work to do in terms of forgiveness and we are doing our best. For now, however, that lie still has the power to make us feel resentment and discomfort. We are working on our own to take that power away and move forward, but at this time we have made a decision to no longer attend regular church services.