Friday, November 16, 2007

Lying Little Sister...

A few years ago, I joined a Mentoring Program: Big Brother, Big
Sister. I was randomly placed with a disadvantaged child. Well, it didn't work out so good. Maybe I am too bossy, maybe she was too stubborn, or maybe we just had a personality conflict. In any case, we were not a good match.

When I would tell her to say: "Street" instead of "Skreet" and "Strawberry" instead of "Skrawberry", ect - she accused me of talking like a "white girl". And it absolutely drove me crazy that she was ten and still sucked her thumb. But what could I say when her sister who was 14 still sucked her thumb and her 18 year old brother sucked his thumb!? Gross!

Anyway, we did do some fun stuff, like go to a strawberry patch then make strawberry shortcake. And go to the local Walmart and buy flip-flops (I was in Warner Robins - there was not much we could do). But finally we both got on each other's nerves enough and I stopped picking her up.

Well, I felt guilty about it - felt like I failed a child (I feel guilty about everything). So when my cousin started his blog, encouraging everyone to start mentoring, I was reluctant. However, after my failed volunteering attempt, I did decide to sign up with a program. Meanwhile, my mom's god- daughter who needs a lot of attention and who's mom is unable to give it to her came over to my house. She was ooohing and aaahing about my old raggedy sewing machine. And was elated that I let her use it. That's when it hit me: I should mentor her! The mentoring organization was taking too long, anyway. Besides instead of taking my chances again I could just mentor someone I know. It was a perfect match - she loves doing all the things I love doing - mainly crafting. We definately get along - I've known her her whole life. And she actually looks up to me.

I decided to pick her up once a month and it was going pretty well. The week before I plan to pick her up - I make her promise not to get in trouble at school (she's a bit of a talker in class) otherwise, I won't pick her up. She usually responds to this. Another technique I have is to tell her that I will teach her something if she learns something for school. For example, I told her if she learned her multiplication tables - I would teach her to crochet. She actually learned ALL (well 1-12) of her multiplication tables by the next month! I was so proud.

Last month was really busy for me and I didn't pick her up, so I decided to do something really fun this month with her - I bought two tickets to see the Urban Nutcracker. So, like usual, I ask her if she's been getting in trouble. Unfortunately, her response is yes. I tell her about my plans and she promises to be good the following week. Well, I call her mom up on Tuesday and Sharai HAS gotten in trouble. Her mom said that she told Sharai that she wouldn't tell me about the incident if she is good for the rest of the week. I say, "Ok, tell her to call me when you get home."

Me: How have you been at school?
Sharai: Good
Me: Good? Sharai, You haven't gotten in any trouble at school?
Sharai: No
Me: Sharai, do not lie to me. Have you gotten in ANY trouble this week?
Sharai: No.
Me: Sharai, You haven't gotten in ANY trouble at school?
Sharai: No.

This girl is straight up lying to me. I tell them the plans are off - because she lied. I cannot handle a liar. It sucks too because I already bought the tickets. Her mom said that she was crying because she doesn't get to come with me this weekend. I am kinda sad, too. But what am I supposed to do? If I take her - it's like I am saying that it is okay to lie to me.

Oh well, maybe next month.


RiceCrispy said...

I understand the guilt thing. I feel guilty about everything too! But sometimes you can only help those who want to be helped. Someone who insists on saying "skreet" probably needs mentoring but hey, you tried. Which is more than a lot of people. As far as Sharai, a little tough love won't hurt her!

By the way, I love that pic of you and the hubby :-)

J. Scott said...

Hey Ayana,

Glad to hear that you are mentoring again. I think that you did the right thing with calling it off. After all, how can you continue to motivate her if she knows tears can still get her what she wants.

Xavier Pickett said...

Hey, that's my little sister! :-)

Of course, this is a matter of wisdom, which means there's no cut and dry answer.

Often times, occasions like these calls for forbearance and mercy - God withholding his judgment toward us - and that is exactly what took place on the cross. God in his mercy and grace gave up his only Son who then stood in our place and took on our punishment for sin when we deserved nothing of the sort, but hell.

Therefore, I think it is imperative that you/we keep in mind how God treats you/us when you lie, disobey, hide, trim the truth, etc. Would you be willing to seek his steadfast love if you knew that he is going to punish you every time you mess up (although, you deserve punishment)? Probably not. Perhaps, Sharai needs to be shown mercy and love and not self-righteousness or judgment by still being allowed to go to the Urban Nutcracker (with a non-preachy explanation of such undeserved love and compassion toward her despite her lying) that would hopefully compel her to live in the truth where there is true safety because that's where our faithful and all-loving Father can be found.

Ayana said...

Rice Crispy: Thanx for the comments (and compliment!).

J.Scott: I love mentoring - so glad I started back!

Xavier: Thanx for the comment. I understand where you are coming from. But, I think I did the right thing by not taking her.

liliesandether said...

Hello! Thank you for stopping by! I totally agree with you about the ebay and etsy thing. There is so much more actual art and legitimate items on etsy, but it is new and most people have never heard of it. And ebay really has much more crap on it! haha But, I think that maybe my work either doesn't appeal the their clientèle or maybe I'm just not promoting enough, or both!! It's easy to get discouraged, but I work really hard on everything I put out there so I just can't let it happen! ;)
Oh, and I think it's great your are a mentor! I wish I had one when I was growing up! And yes, thumb sucking is totally gross!!!

Anonymous said...


So you're saying ayana should have verbally corrected her and done nothing else? In fact, she should then have (in the girl's eyes) demonstrated that there are no consequences what so ever for lying?

Let me guess - you have no children. Children have to be taught to tell the truth. And that teaching usually doesn't take the form of simply telling the child not to lie (especially if you see she already has a penchant for it.)

To make what God did for us on the cross equivalent to overlooking sin is to really trivialize sin. If it's that trivial, why couldn't God just tell us "Don't lie," and just wink His eye at it when we do?

Or why should such behavior stop at the age of 10, or 15, or 20?

If I am shacked up with a woman, then you, the leadership of the church should not withold fellowship from me. That's punishment - and we should keep in mind that God sent His son to die for us and so you shouldn't punish me.

Rather than arguing AGAINST punishment for lying, Christ's death should warn us about how detestable God finds lying and work extra hard at training our children (and mentees) away from such behavior. And man being man (a fallen, sinful critter) we are not going to stop doing something just because someone wants us to. If that were the case, there would be no need for locks, guns, or the courts.

If no one exercises discipline in the child's life, then the child will grow up undisciplined. And that's a scary thought.

Melvin Jones

RBA Founder Xavier said...


As I said at the beginning, this is a matter of wisdom. Life is always complex and contextual. Serving, ministering and loving (and in this case, mentoring) people are not theological argument. And people are not theological problems to solve. So if you are only trying to parse theological issues here, then you have already missed the point.

I offered a certain perspective, NOT a prescription. So your point about “overlooking sin” and distortions about “arguing AGAINST punishment for lying” is out in left field to be quite honest. Where did I talk about “overlooking sin” and “argue against punishment for lying?”

You said, “If no one exercises discipline in the child's life, then the child will grow up undisciplined. And that's a scary thought.” Who said anything about exercising no discipline??? Secondly, just because you do exercise discipline, that does not mean the child will grow up discipline. I think everyone, especially those with kids know that much, but since you guessed about me not having any children, do you?

Moreover, if it is your philosophy and approach to punish someone EVERY time they mess up, then how you explain God continuing to pour his grace and mercy on sinners who continue to sin, even after being punished?? It seems like to me in your approach God should withhold all of his grace and just constantly punish us until we somehow get it together.

Does punishment for sin negates the grace of God??

Lastly, you may not know this about the Christian life: christians (and people) do not always learn what is right by punishment, but we also can learn what is right by goodness and love (of others, namely God)!