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Archive for the ‘Blame’ Category

As I began my vacation in the Canadian Rockies, thrilled that for 2 weeks I would be unreachable by phone, I received an email message from a friend that was utterly disturbing.  Suddenly being thousands of miles from home in a country where I had no phone to contact my friend was not quite as wonderful as it had been moments before I read the email.

My friend had to go away on business for a few days.  Her husband and teenaged daughter drove her to the airport.  That trip was perhaps the last “normal” moment she will have for a while.

I should interject that her teenaged daughter is one of the most beautiful girls I have ever seen in person, with long dark hair, piercing dark eyes and a figure “to die for” as the saying goes.  She has been approached to work as a model and I think she could make real money doing just that.

On the way home, after they dropped off my friend, her husband stopped and bought alcohol (the drinking kind not the rubbing kind) for his underaged daughter.  I suspect he had some himself.  He then proceeded to make sexual advances to his daughter!!  Yes, you read that right!!  His daughter was able to fight off the advances, so there was no physical damage;  however, the psychological trauma was devastating.

This incident is what led to my title.  I discussed the whole thing with my husband, since he is a man (big surprise there, I know), and he was as puzzled as I was.  How could a man do something like that to his own child?

Yes, the alcohol provided some fuel, to be sure.  But the alcohol did not put the idea into this man’s head.  What is it with men?

If you think about the sexual abuse of children (at any age), the offenders are most often men.  Women (sane ones, at least) do not damage children – especially their own.  Women protect their children.  In the culture of the Native Americans I work with, children (and women) are considered sacred.  They are the ones who carry life into the future.  I’m sure it has occurred, but I have never personally heard about or read about a mother who has sexually molested her child.  I have heard about many men who have done such things!

Again I ask, what is it with men?

Yes, I’ve read the clichés about men thinking with their penises rather than their brains.  I can see how teenaged boys can get carried away, when the strength of those urges are new and unfamiliar.  But a man who is old enough to have a 17 year old daughter is a man who is old enough to have learned how to control his sexual urges.  A man who is a father ought to be the protector of his family, not the one who damages his family!

My friend is a strong woman who is very protective of her children and her family.  She would often speak of how much she loved her husband and her children.  She is such a positive person and a role model for those around her.  Now she is trying to figure out how to explain these things to her teenaged children — and to herself.

I am so angry for her.  I’d like to slap this man upside the head and ask him  what on God’s good earth could have made him think this was okay to do, alcohol or not!  But I know I’d get the typical answers:  I didn’t know what I was doing; the alcohol made me do it; I just couldn’t control myself.

Baloney!

You all know what I’d really like to do to him – I don’t have to spell it out, I’m sure. . .

Maybe I should put the soapbox away for the time being, before I get carried away.  After all, I’m a woman – I know how to maintain self-control.

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A friend of my daughter’s just posted on Facebook about something that I’ve been saying since yesterday as well.

*scrape*  *scrape*  “Sorry for the noise, dragging my soapbox out.”

For many of us in New England, Hurricane Irene did not live up to her billing.  That isn’t to say that there was no damage or that there aren’t many folks who are still being inconvenienced by power outages.  There was damage and many are still in the dark.  But Irene had been billed as the “storm of the century” and hyped by every media outlet and government agency as nature’s version of Armageddon.  It didn’t turn out to be that way for most in the area where I live.

In my yard, for example, there were some very small branches that fell from the trees, leaves and a little bit of water in the basement.  We went for a drive yesterday afternoon and did not see much worse.  Yes, there were trees broken and fallen here and there.  Only one or two had fallen on or even close to a house.  Most of the fallen trees we saw either partially blocked a road, fell on power lines (hence the outages) or simply fell harmlessly in a yard or field.  Clean up work to be sure, but not significant damage.

If you were one of the few people who had a tree fall on your house, you did indeed suffer a catastrophe.  However, if you are out there just raking up leaves, you are in the majority and lucky.  We did not see roofs, shingles or siding blown off houses; we did not see signs blown down; we did not see shattered windows.

The problem is that people are complaining that it wasn’t “bad enough.”  After all, they went out and bought water and bread so they wouldn’t starve for a few days.  They were glued to their TV sets (til the power went out) watching for news of the devastation being wrought by the storm.  Perhaps some were realizing how tied to electronics they are when the power was no longer available.

I think folks should be grateful instead of complaining.  They should be acknowledging that we “dodged a bullet” on this one.  It was a HUGE storm!  We were lucky that it didn’t cause more damage here.  We were fortunate that the storm reduced in fury before it hit much of New England.  Mother Nature is notoriously fickle and change is one of her basic character traits.  She is also a bit of a trickster!  She loves to change a few small things to see how we respond (like taking some steam out of a hurricane or putting a tornado in an area which typically doesn’t have them).  Mother Nature revels in being unpredictable.  Just when we think we have her figured out with our knowledge and our technology, she throws us a curve ball to test us.

She isn’t always kind with the tests – there are plenty of times when things are worse than we had expected.  This time, in our neck of the woods, we got lucky and things were not as bad as expected.

So why are people complaining?!

Why are people blaming the weather folks for Mother Nature’s vagaries?  Why are folks unhappy that their homes were not demolished?  Why are they sad and whining about the fact that they prepared “for nothing?”

It wasn’t nothingeverywhere!  There were places where the predictions were spot-on.  There are places where people have been flooded out of their homes, where trees fell in the wrong places and where the winds tore up homes.

 

Personally, I think our society is in a sad state when people have so lost touch with Mother Nature that they expect to be able to perfectly know, predict and control her.  In the profound words of an old acquaintance,

 

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I may make some enemies saying this, however in my humble but educated opinion John Stossel, “reporter and consumer crusader extraordinaire” has gone over to the dark side.  That is a wordy and pretentious way to say I think he’s full of BS.  I believe Stossel is more interested in self-promotion than a deep analysis of the truth at this point in his career.

There was a day, I must admit, when I admired John Stossel.  I thought his consumer reporting was helpful.  But in those days I was not taking the time to check the veracity of his statements.  Had I read FAIR reports earlier in my life, perhaps I would have known that his “facts” were not always really truthful facts.  You can check FAIR concerns yourself at http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1887 .

I will also tell you that, had I attempted to write this last night, when I first read his blog post of March 25, 2011 entitles Freeloading Doesn’t Help the Freeloaders, it would have turned into an angry diatribe.  I would have attacked Mr Stossel personally which would not have been worthwhile.  However, I will say I was really steamed!

I refuse to give a link to take more people to his blog post.  I will tell you he posted it on that date at 4:57 in Entrepreneurs, Fox News Appearances, Free Market, Freeloaders and Government. I will analyze it for you, though.  So don’t give him more views unless you plan to add to his already large quantity of negative comments.  I don’t claim to be an expert, like Stossel does, but I do think I am fairly well-informed.

Stossel’s opening statement was “No group has been more ‘helped’ by the American government than American Indians.  Yet no group in America does worse.”

Right here I have to split a few hairs with Mr Stossel.  “No group has been ‘helped’ more …than … Indians.”  Mr Stossel, please tell us the definition of the word “help” that you used.  In my dictionary, help means “to give what is necessary to accomplish a task”, “to save or rescue”, “to make easier/less difficult” and “to relieve in pain, sickness or distress.”

Let us consider how the American government has “helped” the Indians of this country.

American Indians are the original inhabitants of this continent.  They had flourishing cultures, strong family structures, languages of their own and their own forms of government and justice.  In those cultures, the poor were taken care of by sharing – no one went hungry when others ate.  A chief wasn’t the most popular person in the group but the person chosen as having proved him or herself as most wise.  Chiefs didn’t seek the office; it was usually thrust upon him/her.  It wasn’t even a real office, as such.

There was variety among the cultures.  Some were more centralized, where game was plentiful or perhaps the soil was good enough to grow crops.  Other tribes were nomadic – without a permanent home although they did have “permanent” territories.  They followed the migration of animals that were their own life blood.  Indians used every single part of the buffalo, for example, not just the meat or hide.

Although there were certainly disagreements and conflicts between families (clans) and amongst tribes, most were also generous and hospitable.

Enter the Europeans.  Yes, those who are the ancestors of most of you readers, definitely me and assuredly Mr Stossel.  Those Europeans step on the soil of this continent and “claim it.”  CLAIM IT!  Oh yes, there are already people living on this land.  But there don’t seem to be that many of them.  We think there is room for all.  We will claim some of this land as our own.  Yes, we will OWN it.  What?  You, the original inhabitants don’t believe you can own land?  Well, we do and we have stronger weapons, so it will be our way.  Besides, we don’t need that much land.

The success of those first European interlopers would not have been a problem for the Indians if their group did not grow.  But grow it did!  They had huge families and they interested more Europeans in moving to this land of promise.  Then they needed MORE ROOM.  MORE LAND.  Oh, so sorry, we’re going to take more land from you.  Sure, we’ll give you a few trinkets and shells for it.  Trust us.

Woe to those who trust the untrustworthy.

The first Indians to encounter the Europeans had smaller tribes and were more settled (which is NOT to say they were permanently settled in towns, etc).  As happens everywhere, some fell into interracial love affairs.  So begins assimilation.  Others were truly converted to the European life style.  Many were either forcibly “converted” or died trying to preserve their own way of life.

But we need MORE LAND.  MORE SPACE.

So the push westward was begun.  Indians who were already displaced from the east were pushed further away from their homelands if they did not assimilate.

The government began to make treaties with the tribes.   In exchange for the land you are “giving” us we PROMISE to take care of you, make sure you have enough to eat, good places to live.  We PROMISE to punish any bad person who hurts, steals from or otherwise harms a member of your tribe.  We PROMISE no one will bother you on the land we are giving you.

People today like to think that these treaties are quaint documents in which the government meant well but which don’t have much meaning in this day and age.  WRONG!  Treaties are legal documents between sovereign nations. Would we think of saying, “Sure, we have treaties limiting nuclear arms with Russia, but that’s for them, not us.  We can do what we want to.”  That wouldn’t fly, would it?  Treaties are binding on all signing parties.  That includes the US government.

So our government agreed to give the Indians certain things and do certain things for them.  Did the government follow through on everything it PROMISED?  NOT EVEN CLOSE!

Treaties were broken by the government.  There was more land taken (stolen).  There were cultures destroyed and languages lost.  Sacred places were defiled.  And did I mention more land was taken?  Reservations began to shrink as precious minerals were found and mines begun.  Cattle and other grazing herds competed with the native animals that formed the Indian diet.  The government condoned the wholesale slaughter of buffalo to get them out of the way for the railroad to cross the country and to free up grazing land for stock.  The government condoned genocide, too.

The remaining Indians were left on reservations with fairly useless land.  They had no access to food, especially the food they were all accustomed to.  There were no jobs on the reservations.  The children were taken from their families to be “civilized and educated.”  These are the Indians whom Stossel calls FREELOADERS. These are the ones surviving on the benefits the US government promised to them in “exchange” for all their land and their culture.

Let’s go back to the dictionary.  Freeloader is defined as “slang: a person who habitually depends on the charity of others for food, shelter, etc”.  And freeload the verb is defined as “to take advantage of others for free food, entertainment, etc”.

Okay, based on what we’ve discussed, it is obvious that Indians are freeloaders, right?  The are taking advantage of those who stole their land and culture by expecting to be given the things that treaties have promised.  I’m sure they are entertained by the broken promises, hungry children, substandard living conditions and prejudice they have.  It must be an advantage to experience hopelessness and despair to such a degree that there is an epidemic of youth suicide on reservations.

Mr Stossel blithely notes, “They have short life spans.” That is the understatement of a lifetime! The life expectancy for a male on Pine Ridge Reservation is 48 years and for women it is 52 years!  Those are life expectancies comparable to Burundi, not anywhere in the USA.  Do you really think, Mr Stossel, that these “freeloaders” are getting a benefit here?  Do you think they greedily and lazily think that losing 30 years of expected life is a good deal?

Do I disagree with Mr Stossel’s premise that people who are given everything prosper less than those who must work to get ahead?  Not entirely.  I look at the youth of this nation, a group who have come to believe they are entitled to things, education, jobs because their parents gave them everything they asked for.  Talk about a group of freeloaders (in general; there are certainly exceptions).

However, do I believe that American Indians are freeloaders, as Stossel claims?  ABSOLUTELY NOT!

I wonder if Mr Stossel has ever spent any time visiting a reservation or talking to those who live there.  I doubt it.  I have done both.  I have seen with my own eyes what passes for housing on the reservations of South Dakota.  I have seen how hard it is to succeed even with an education – that it often means leaving home, family, culture and friends.

So, Mr Stossel (I’m sure you read your own press and hope you have been able to read to the end), I urge you to read any of my blog entries in the Lakota category.  Watch the videos I’ve made from photos I’ve taken on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.

My Passion is Pine Ridge  http://youtu.be/t8UYGSBl4yU?a

Third World Conditions in the USA  http://youtu.be/-gHXmlUpVvs

Look carefully at the pictures of my friend’s house, Mr Stossel.  Tell me if you really believe that someone would live in those conditions willingly in order to take advantage of charity or “government handouts.”  If you really believe that, you don’t deserve the BA in Psychology that you got at Princeton University.  You obviously didn’t learn enough to merit it.

Yes, there are prosperous American Indian individuals and tribes who don’t need the benefits they are entitled to from the US government.  But there are many, many more who, for whatever reasons, absolutely need them and would not be able to survive without them.  You should know better than to compare apples to oranges, Mr Stossel!

American Indians, especially in the Dakotas, endure prejudice and bias akin to that experienced by African-Americans in the deep South in the days before the Civil Rights movement.  Where is the American media when that occurs?  Absent.  It is abominable that you add to this with the commentary you wrote equating all American Indians with freeloaders.  Shame on you!

Mr Stossel, you should not write about what you don’t know, even if you have a wonderful staff to feed you statistics.

And you owe American Indians an apology at the very least.

g a person who habitually depends on the charity of others for food, shelter, etc
slang a person who habitually depends on the charity of others for food, shelter, etc
slang a person who habitually depends on the charity of others for food, shelter, etc

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I spoke to my friend on the Pine Ridge Reservation yesterday.  You know, the friend whose daughter got pregnant while in state custody.  I don’t recall when I have heard her so angry.

If you aren’t aware of the circumstances I’m referring to, the short version is:  Her daughter was placed in state custody at 15 years old for being a chronic runaway.  She is currently in placement in a “secure” home for girls in Mitchell, SD.  A few weeks ago, my friend got a call from a nurse at a hospital out there.  The nurse told her that her daughter had suffered a “spontaneous abortion”.  My friend assumed her daughter must have been at least 4 months pregnant since she had been in custody since July.  The nurse told her no, it was about 6 weeks and it had been confirmed by her blood work.

My friend realized that, if that were true, her daughter had gotten pregnant while in state custody.  So she notified Child Protective Services, the US Attorney (because the child is a Native American, the federal government has jurisdiction over major crimes) and the tribe.

Suddenly, things are changing.  The woman she had been working with at Child Protective Services is doing something else now and a new woman has been assigned to the case.  This new woman told my friend that the doctor now says “perhaps he made a mistake.”

SAY WHAT??

A mistake?  Blood work doesn’t lie – especially when the tech doing the test has no idea of the details of the case.  Pregnancy is clearly detected by blood test.  This isn’t a home pregnancy test.  This isn’t a case of someone claiming to be pregnant.  This is a blood test that was done because a child was having problems and taken to the doctor by the state.

The new woman at CPS then had the gall to ask my friend when she had last visited her daughter.  She was treating her as a “bad mother” – you know the tone people take when they are trying to make you feel small and humiliated.  Of course, my friend told her just 2 weeks ago and called her on her attitude.  (Be advised that bureaucrats do not take kindly to having their faults pointed out.  It creates even worse attitudes.)

My friend feels badly enough that her daughter has gotten herself into this place.  She has done everything short of putting the child in shackles to keep her home and prevent her from getting into trouble.  But now she has run up against the “blame the mother” attitude.  She will not take that from anyone.  I can see a storm brewing.

The bigger problems I see are many.

First, the state took a child away from both her family and her culture (albeit for good reasons).  Initially she was in Rapid City – “only” an hour away from family and they could visit her regularly.  It was definitely a hardship, since they have an unreliable vehicle and no money for gas.  Indeed, I gave them gas money several times.  They drove the hour each way for each short visit they were allowed.

Then the state found this “permanent” placement – and the child is now 4 hours away from home and family.  That means that, in order to visit her daughter, my friend has to travel 4 hours just to get there, spending a much larger sum of money to do it, then travel 4 hours to return home to the reservation.  With no job, having to somehow pay “child support” to the state anyway, having a car most people wouldn’t own that burns gas and oil like most of us drink water – with all those obstacles, my friend has still managed to visit her daughter periodically.

Second, I smell a rat when it comes to the “mistake” claim.  Of course the state and the facility don’t want anyone to hear about this.  A child became pregnant in state protective custody.  The medical facility called the child’s mother to advise her of the medical facts.  I know this is true because my friend had to ask what a “spontaneous abortion” was – it isn’t a term she would use.  She would use the term most laypersons use – miscarriage.

Suddenly the doctor recants?  Says there was a mistake?  Then why did the nurse tell my friend that the blood pregnancy test had been positive.  Suddenly the sympathetic case worker is removed and replaced by one with a negative attitude toward my friend? That’s a remarkable coincidence.  Suddenly no one knows anything and no one will give my friend any information about her daughter?  Yet they ask how often she visits in accusing tones?

The phrase that comes to mind is “cover up.”  It is less negative to say the doctor made a mistake (will the malpractice insurance carrier see it that way?) than to say that the state was negligent in the care of this young woman.  But that kind of thing doesn’t really happen, does it?

I might think that perhaps I was being a bit paranoid about the whole thing if we were relying solely on the word of the child.  But we are basing our views on the words of a medical professional.

I might think that perhaps I was being a bit paranoid if this were a young white girl from the suburbs.  But it is not.  It is a young Lakota girl from the reservation.  In South Dakota.

I have seen the prejudice and bias toward Indians in South Dakota first hand, with my own eyes.  I have seen looks and attitudes that I thought long gone.  I am not a young woman.  I grew up in the 50’s and 60’s.  I saw the attitudes of the South and the work for civil rights.  The South may be changing.  The country may have elected a president “of color” (I am trying to be as politically correct as I can here).  I have also seen and heard the attitudes of South Dakota in the past 5 years.

In 2005, a group told us the family of the child we sponsor could not know our address or phone number “for our protection.”  Otherwise, they might just show up on our doorstep, looking for handouts.  (I find that rather funny, since I live MANY miles away and know how difficult it can be for folks on the rez to even get to Rapid City, an hour or so away.)  We stayed with the family (who are now our friends) and left the group.  I now work with a different group which works to foster the friendship and personal connection.  We have shopped and dined out with our friends in places where we had done those same things without them as well.  We have seen the way they (and we, as their friends) were treated differently.

So is it a far stretch to think that someone in the system decided that the best way to cover up this blatant negligence was to say someone “made a mistake”?  Better a mistake than a law suit, right?  Everyone makes a mistake now and then.

I say there has been negligence either way.  Either a young woman was not protected in state custody or a mother has been stressed to her limits by a “mistake” made by the professionals charged with caring for her daughter.

Either way – a wrong has been done!

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I got a phone call late last evening.  Late for me (9:30 PM), not as late for the caller in South Dakota (7:30 PM).  The risk of working 2000 miles away from where I live is an occasional late call.

The caller was a mom I had spoken with early in the summer.  I had no sponsors available at the time, but did put her on the OKINI (sharing) list to see if someone would send her what they had an urgent need for: personal hygiene items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste.  We included a request for the children for shoes and summer clothes.

This mom and her present husband were raising three children.  She has a 12 year old daughter, a 7 year old son and a 6 year old daughter.

I read the Rapid City Journal every day – the obituary page.  It helps me keep up with what is happening in my areas of the reservation.  In July, I read the obituary for this woman’s husband.  He was 31 years old at the time of his death.

I did not know the cause of his death.  I did know that they were struggling to “make it.”  How many of us, when asked what we need most urgently, would ask for soap and toothpaste.  They didn’t have a post office box in the area where they were living; they got their mail “General Delivery” at the post office.  They could not afford a post office box rental.

She told me the cause of her husband’s death inadvertently, one of the times she started to cry.  “How could he do that to himself?” Her husband committed suicide – one of far too many on the rez who see no hope for improvement and no way out.

She said the children were having a hard time and she had to place the 7 year old boy in counseling.  She told me they needed personal hygiene products again and the 6 year old needed shoes.

Then she told me something that I fervently wish she had not told me.  She told me that, after her husband’s death, his family blamed her for it.  It got so bad for her and the children that she has moved to Rapid City to get away from the harassment. Blame is a cruel game that serves no one’s best interests!!

No . . .  tell me I didn’t hear her say that.  Tell me she did not inform me she had moved to Rapid City.  I must have been imagining it.  But no, she’s giving me the address of the relative she temporarily staying with.  Damn, damn, damn!!

I got her new information.  I told her I would see what I could do.

But I KNEW I could do little if anything.  I just didn’t have the heart to rip the last bit of hope away from this grieving mother at that time of the night.  We said goodbye.

Then I stomped my feet on the plastic floor protector mat under my desk chair like a child having a tantrum.  I let out a string of expletives.  My husband looked at me as though I were nuts.  “What’s wrong with you?!”  Frustration!

So I told him the story, then said, “What’s wrong with this picture?”

He let out a slow sigh as he nodded slightly, “She’s in Rapid City.”

BINGO!! Give that man a prize!

The organization I work with provides sponsors and services only on Pine Ridge Reservation.  That’s it.  Move off the rez and we can’t help you anymore.

The reasons for this are, well, reasonable.  We are a small organization.  We do not have the resources to help those who move away.  We know they need help, too.  But covering the 2,000,000 (that’s right, 2 million) acres we already cover is a big job.  We just can’t do it anywhere else — at least right now.  We never have enough sponsors for all the children and elders on the reservation as it is.

I can tell you’re wondering what I’m going to do with this “little problem” that I now have.  I’ll tell you.

I will not assign a sponsor to this woman’s children while she is in Rapid City.

I will try to get the 6 year old a pair of shoes and find some personal hygiene products to send – probably out of my own money in one of the post office’s nifty flat rate boxes.

I will probably stay in contact with her to see how she is doing over the next few months.  She really needs emotional support.

I will watch to see if the moves back to the reservation.  Many, many who try to move off rez end up moving back.  My friends did that.  If she moves back, she’ll get the first sponsor available.

She had to move about 50 miles to grieve and raise her children in peace.

Moving can make all the difference!!

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Warning: I am up on my soapbox today, so you’d better read something else if you’re looking for peace and serenity.

Excuses!  That’s all we hear today.  It’s always somebody else’s fault.  Or you can blame the computer – even though the least of us know, in this age of technology, that it’s the human behind the computer that is usually the culprit.

Why is it that no one (okay, almost no one – I don’t want to be accused of blanket generalities) can accept responsibility for their mistakes?!  Our nation of strong, responsible men and women has, over the past generation, become a nation of soft, weak, irresponsible people.  It is a damned shame!

I have had this complaint for quite a few years, watching as everyone from politicians to athletes to customer service reps to friends fail to take responsibility for their actions.  Someone else made me do it.  It was an act of God.  I couldn’t bear to hurt someone’s feelings.  I thought I was doing the right thing.

Excuses!  Why can’t people say, “Yes.  It was my fault.  I made a mistake.  I added wrong and that’s why the figures in the report were inaccurate. ”  Or, “Yes.  It was my fault.  I misinterpreted the data.  There were no weapons of mass destruction.  We went to war due to my mistake.”  Or, “Yes.  I dropped the ball.  It was no one else’s fault we lost the game.  I wasn’t concentrating on the game and I missed the catch.”

Excuses are related to another of my big complaints:  the inability of people to be honest.  Truth and honesty are the dual supports of responsibility.  If you can’t tell the truth, it’s unlikely you will be responsible.  That is doubly true if you can’t be honest with yourself.  Making excuses is often the result of lying to yourself first.  Then you lie to everyone else.

Taking responsibility and telling the truth — or not doing so — recently came to my attention yet again in my work.  My “work,” for those who haven’t followed  my blog, is volunteer work.  I am an Area Services Coordinator for a totally volunteer (that’s right – no one in the entire group draws a paycheck for their work) non-profit organization which matches sponsors to residents of the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota.  It’s a really fancy title but the job is far less glamorous.  I call residents to learn about them and their needs.  I call sponsors to get to know them.  I try to match the sponsor with a family that will relate to them well, since direct contact between the two and developing a relationship between the two is the way this organization operates.

I take the responsibility seriously because the residents have such great needs.  I want to give them the best opportunity of developing a good relationship with their sponsor.  I expect both parties in the arrangement to live up to their obligations.

Recently, a sponsor I had placed with a family of five (mom and four teen boys) had a financial set-back and needed to stop the sponsorship arrangement.  That is perfectly understandable.  We ask one thing of sponsors in this position.  We ask them to notify us.  Very simple, very easy.  The sponsor in question did just that.  She emailed me to let me know of the problem.  I responded, thanking her for letting me know.  I told her I understood and asked her if she had informed the mom in the family.  I indicated that if she had not, I would do it for her.

So why am I upset?  She also notified my supervisor of the situation.  Was I upset by that?  Nope!  She told my supervisor that she had spoken with the mom and informed her of the situation.  My supervisor forwarded that information to me.  Am I upset yet?  No.

I called the mom to see how things were going and to let her know I would keep looking for a new sponsor for her.  She was, sadly, at a wake when she took the call.  Death and it’s rituals are too common an occurrence on the rez.  I told her that I knew her sponsor had already told her and I just wanted to reassure her that I would keep looking for a replacement.

By her reaction, I knew she had not known the sponsor could not continue.  And yet, she would not break down.  I heard the pain and strength in her voice.  She asked about the reasons and could understand, in spite of the loss to her family.  It was very painful for me to unwittingly be the one to pull the rug out of this woman’s life.  I have not yet found a sponsor willing to take on a family of teens.

Was I upset because I had to be the bearer of bad tidings?  No.  I was upset because the sponsor LIED to us.  She did not take responsibility for her actions.  She took the easy way out.  She told us by email but did not tell the person she had accepted the responsibility to help.

I do not know how or when or where this trend began.  I am not a pundit or scholar.  I am just a simple human being who is sick to death of people making excuses.

So if you are dealing with me, remember the ground rules:

Tell the truth.

Take responsibility for your actions.

In return, I will promise to do the same and to respect our differences.  I will not judge you for any mistakes.  I will work with you to make things better.

However, remember that if you choose to break those two simple rules, I will call you out on it – perhaps publicly.  Whatever my response, be assured, it won’t be pretty!!

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