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.
Tagged: ask to pet, balance and stability, big dog, children, dane, disability, disability awareness, dog, family, great dane, human puppies, lies, lying, service dane, service dog
You know, I learned long ago that the only thing that you can change is yourself and the things that you have control over. It sounds like you have taken this sad situation as an opportunity to change those things in your personal lives that you could control. The worst part is that you seem to be leaving behind a cherished church community that you have felt so much a part of and which up until this time has been a place of comfort. I hope that the parents of this child will “wake up and smell the roses” and take control of the situation THEY have control over. You both are very special individuals who educate at every opportunity re: service dogs. I hope you will find your way to a church, whether your old one or not, that you can be a part of and that they can be a part of your lives. Big hugs.
Great to see that some good will come out of this although sad that you had to endure the distress. It is hard to let hurtful lies go but know that you have done your very best and continue to move on as you have. Sending thoughts of strength and peace and sending lavish zen pats to Casper.
I believe there have been many positive outcomes from this incident. The power of forgiveness. Your position to speak & educate others. You have learned so much about parenting your own children. You can not take responsibility for how the parents of the young boy are handling their parenting. The ground rules for Casper seem very well thought out & fair.
I am a bit saddened by your last statement abt. no longer attending church services. It seemed like that was a very important part of your life. I have not attended church on a regular basis because of many hurtful incidents that have happened to me through my lifetime within the church. I consider myself a very spiritual person. I am blessed that my parents raised me in a church environment. Without going into the events which enfluenced my decisions, I do not like that you are somehow being pushed away from something that is important to your family.
Only you & Dan know what is best for your family. I applaud your courage to raise your girls with honesty, example, & most importantly love.
I believe that fibs, lies, not telling the exact truth do hurt you and others and I try to be as factual as possible. I commend both of you to put your foot down to the children on the little fibs or larger lies. Many parents don’t and the kids take advantage of this and it will continue from generation to generation. You do not have to go to church on a regular basis if you believe God is with you all the time though you have obviously enjoyed going before and maybe after time you can resume going or find another church that fits your values and beliefs. My gut feeling is you will do what is necessary and for what you believe in and that should take the weight off your shoulders. Thank you for updating us and will continue to support you, Lauri, your kids and especially Casper. You have found your calling and I feel from your writings that you would be an excellent speaker.
Please find another church and go on a weekly basis. You need God in your lives, especially now.
We feel God is in our lives all the time and everywhere no matter whether we are regularly going to church or not, however, we plan to explore some other options.
As a former teacher, Lauri, I have to commend you and the girls’ father for choosing to work together as a team to raise the girls to be the best they can be. It is natural for the girls to play the ‘sides’ game as children only count points on the “immediate benefit” scorecard. Long-term benefits are null and void as far as they are concerned!! Having been through quite a number of parent conferences over the years (I haven’t counted, but it is probably in the range of 10,000). I have to say that when parents choose to work together toward the same goal, the child ALWAYS benefits. That said, the child involved in the lie in the Casper incident is the ultimate loser. You won’t be around to see the repercussions, but there WILL be repercussions that HIS parents will have to deal with. You have ZERO ownership in that, so I commend you again for choosing to let it go. Lies only have ‘perceived power’.
I think your becoming spokespersons for the education of others regarding service dogs is noble. The day may come where you will again feel comfortable returning to your church. If possible, I would encourage you all to return so as to 1) not give this boy any more power than he already thinks he has and 2) continue to share in the community in which you have felt comfortable for some time. I know I would be sitting on ‘the other side’ and down front so the young man doesn’t have any opportunity to continue his poor, obviously parent-sanctioned choices. Your continued attendance puts his lies to the test of veracity. And truth, over time, always wins. Twenty years down the road, your behavior in this incident is going to carry a lot more weight with this boy than his parents’ misguided efforts will. That said, you need to do whatever you are most comfortable with. I wish you peace in this journey.
Karen, I have been trying to think of a way to say these same things that you have stated very clearly. As a teacher and a parent, I want to reinforce your your message.
Dan and Laura, I hope that in time, you will be able to return to your church. There is always going to someone like this child appearing in your life. Hopefully, in time, you will recognize this too.
I admire you both. You are excellent advocates/educators for service dogs and for your family. Sending good thoughts and hugs your way.
Sorry you are suspending church because of a lie, but confident you will work through it and go back soon because that is the caliber of people you are. Great to hear you are planning on more speaking, so educational no matter the subject. Hooray for you and the kids other family for working together to raise well adjusted children. What a lovely family you all are, and I am so glad Casper is a member… my favorite Little Ghost.
Hugs to all