Lip Service Repentance vs Restitution

Lip service repentance should not ever get a predator off the hook. Predators need to know that there is no space for them as wolves among the lambs. #twitterstake #bloggernacle

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Many woman in the Church have a story about how they were recipient of really awful behaviour by a man in the Church.  Often the aggressor being someone in some kind of authority or who has jurisdiction over some aspect of their or someone else’s life and safety.  The purveyors of aggressive behaviour are not great in number but they are like chili flakes in a sugar pot – unexpected and unwanted.

The experiences sit around either someone being domineering and aggressive, a creeper, being completely inappropriate or verbally and or physically aggressive toward them.   

They have stories of how, in the Gospel, we are required to be forgiving so after taking the concern or fear to the Church authorities the survivor of this conduct drops it, leaves it alone, waits to be called back in for a follow up conversation but when this rarely emerges they try not to mention it again.   

Frequently the complainant does not perceive they are truly believed. 

But here’s the kicker, the Church authorities frequently “have a quiet word” with the person and perhaps the behaviour toward the complainant stops for a while, perhaps there is tension….  

But there is no actual restitution.   

Almost never at any point is an abuser expelled from the congregation, only once to my knowledge because police became involved and a person was sent to prison for their offence but otherwise I have never known of a predator or aggressor being expelled. 

Never are other women warned about the danger, the complainant does not receive an apology from the aggressor, I’ve never heard of a plan of action being shared with the complainant, and women talk! 

There is a disconnect. 

Predatory or Domineering behaviour is rife, it is everywhere, even sadly occassionally within the Chapel Building walls. 

Young Women of aware parents have been told by their vigilant Mothers “Stay away from that person by any means necessary…. Scream, shout, kick up a stink, be direct with your words, but never ever let them come near you, they are dangerous” and the child’s life is altered with this knowledge and they will never be a completely innocent child again. 

Young Women of other parents are not warned of the danger, and the parents either trust the Lord to protect their kids or hover like helicopter parents and the children never develop a sense of danger and warning and walk through life in a Doe-like fashion. 

First, Women need to be believed.  Leaders need to express their thankfulness that the women have been brave enough to share their experience and asked if they want help pressing charges. 

Second, the predators need to be held accountable to the highest standards.

Third, we need the loop to be closed, the complainant needs to be approached by the person with whom they shared their concern, they need to be thanked again, they need to be told what the consequences were for the aggressor and asked again if they want to press charges. 

Forth, the aggressor needs to apologise and make restitution in full. 

Lip service repentance should not ever get a predator off the hook.  Predators need to know that there is no space for them as wolves among the lambs.  They need to know that the shepherds have got their number and that there is no hiding place.  If predators leave because they cannot predate with ease, so be it.

The missing piece right now rests around accountability and closing the loop by reporting back and receiving a restitutory apology at the very least.

Lip service repentance does not negate the requirement for justice.  In fact, it elevates the requirement for justice because lip service repentance is a dangerous and manipulative weapon used by aggressors to evade justice and consequences.

 

Good Better Best

I heard music to an LDS Mama’s ears…

I was at a theme park with my teen and it gave us 9 hours straight to chat about everything and nothing while walking around and enjoying the rides.  The topic turned to choices and some very big yet positive changes which had happened in our lives recently to do with education and work.  Then I heard music to an LDS Mama’s ears, Continue reading “Good Better Best”

She Grew Up

School is so much more than Maths and English.

Big changes, leaps and bounds, in the Casa Blanca.  They Whyte House is abuzz with change.  We can barely utter a sentence without change occurring at the moment.  The girl grew up.  GCSE exam results were returned to the students this last week, choices were made regarding future educational establishments, interviews were held, shuffle up days are happening right now as we speak.

The kid did good with her results.  My first inkling that the kid did good was when I took her in the car to collect her results from school and waited in the car park while she went in.  A few minutes later I heard a shriek of joy from someone running across the yard brandishing a manila envelope screaming over and over “A-Star in English” which was improbable because, you know, dyslexia.  The young lady then stopped in her tracks to hug the school chaplain who just arrived and say thank you for her help, before sprinting again to get back to me.  Her school has a chaplain as it is a Church of England school.  They have their own chapel too.  It’s kind of nifty.

The rest of the results were great too, a good spread of great grades and everything she needed to get in to some of her preferred options.

Just as important as grades, she ended up enjoying the school experience.  She ended up with a wide and diverse group of friends.  She ended up attending parties and going into town to meet up for lunches or shopping, she ended up sleeping over and having sleep overs and parties.

This was a medical improbability.  This was a medical unlikelihood.

She has worked flipping hard to get to understand people and what values they hold and how they’re likely to respond in any given circumstance.  She’s worked hard to be a woman of her word that people could count on to be honest and kind but sure of herself.  She ended up working hard to comply with school expectations upon her with their implied requirements and shifting priorities and minor injustices which are normal occurrences in society.  It took it’s toll on her, it was taxing, demanding and relentless but she continued working hard.

This experience was a firm foundation upon which to build a happy and successful adulthood.  She leaves this school to attend the rival school in the next town over for the next two years.  It is with a little pathos that she forsakes spending hours a day with the people she has become accustomed to and who she loves.  But this experience has proven to be a firm foundation.  She’s learned how to socialise into a group and how to let her quirkiness and quick mind shine as a beneficial talent.

I don’t think I could have achieved what she has achieved socially, I don’t think I could have achieved what she achieved academically while concentrating on social skills.  I am in awe of her, but don’t tell her because she gets a little big headed sometimes!

Here’s to the future, and what a magnificent future it is shaping up to be.

Alluring fine figure of a woman

So I have a week without the munchkin as she goes camping for a week with the other Young Women from the church youth group and other youth groups in this area.  Historically I have scheduled this annual week, my only week) to the rafters and been out dancing and seeing buddies or working on huge projects around the house.  One year I took a few days to decorate Missy’s room.  Another year it took me two days to dig out all the trash from her room.  Swings and roundabouts.  Other years I have done gardening or garage projects or donated time to a valuable cause or two.

This year, her room is tidy and just needs a bit of a go round with the vacuum cleaner.  It is decorated already.  I have two blinds to install, one on the stairwell and one in the spare room so that the neighbours don’t continually get a shock as I am not particularly careful about being robed in our own home and sometimes nosey people cop an eyeful.

But this time I am tired.  I am also superbly alluring as in the past couple of weeks I have broken out in blisters all along my legs and now on my eyes.  So the probability of dating is off the cards right now until this calms down.

Either I have used a product which doesn’t agree with me – there are a couple of candidates – or I need to nap, lots.  I’m going to go with the napping option I think.  I have Netflix, takeaway menu’s, healthy fridge food and the ability to mimic a sloth when required.  I think I’m set.

Apart from now I’m thinking about that grout in the bathroom and how I don’t like it and how I have time to sort it out now.  And the garden needs mowing.  The hedges need taking down a few feet in the back garden, the shed # 2 needs a weathertight roof.  And the floor in the living room could do with a sand and varnish.  And the hallway needs painting, and the ironing needs to be put away, and I need to do some paperwork.  And I could do with getting all the tools back to the shed.  And I haven’t investigated the loft yet apart from sticking my head up there and saying “Huh, that looks pretty full”, and I have to go over some quotes for driveway stuff.

Otherwise though, I think I will get a bit of a nap schedule going.  Hopefully.

 

 

DEBT FREE AT LAST!

Debt, significant debt, followed me for decades but I just made the final payment! *Pulls kilt over head and screams FREEDOM!*

Only gone and blinking done it! Decades of debt finally all gone, all paid down, every penny. I await a bill for some car repairs but otherwise and aside from a mortgage and regular bills, I owe nobody anything. The money in the bank is mine to do with as I please. I cannot remember back when this was the case previously. It has been my constant companion, my lullaby at night, my alarm call in the morning, it has been my travelling companion and as close to me as my own heartbeat. It has been a motivation to focus on what matters. We had a good life none the less but this is a legacy I didn’t want to pass to the next generation. I wanted the next generation to be free to take chances and be bold if they choose to be. It would have been easy to pay off minimums for the rest of my life and ignore the freedoms afforded to those who are not thus shackled. Easy. The hard decision was to live up to what I though was right for us. To actually decide that my life work until it was completed was to be free of things which erode my freedom to choose, and debt was right up there at the top. Each month it would eat away at my disposable income. It was a constant reminder of mistakes made. It annoyed me.

If you are minded to make the same decision and become debt free, hats off to you.

If you are minded to make a different decision and stick with minimum payments, more power to your elbow.

Shakespeare in Hamlet wrote:

“Neither a borrower nor a lender be; For loan oft loses both itself and friend, And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry. This above all: to thine ownself be true,”

The whole phrase resonated with me but it’s the “This above all: to thine ownself be true” part which always rang in my ears since my days at the Provo Missionary Training Centre (MTC) and our District Leader, David Muntinga would repeat this phrase out loud to himself frequently. It stuck like an earworm and shaped my personal philosophy. So, thanks Dave!

My philosophy is based on strength of character, freedom to choose, kindness where possible, resilience to weather the storms, and a passion to embrace opportunities.

I think the experiences we have gone through as a family, particularly in the last 4.5 years should act as a cautionary tale to young people making life choices!

At any point we can make a different decision and choose a different path. The principle is called Agency. We all have it and it is like a muscle in the body, we either use it and it strengthens or we don’t and it weakens. Making a different decision feels awkward, clumsy and ungainly. It is not a pretty sight at first but I liken it to watching a class of 4 year old children learning ballet who look like cats on roller-skates at first vs that same group 5 or 10 years later with a gracefulness which is inspiring. Work through the kittens on roller-skates phase, it doesn’t last forever.

If I had my time over, these are some of the things I wish I’d adopted earlier.

  • Choose your path of study – does it get you where you need to be for your next life steps? Does it open or close doors?
  • Choose your career well – will it provide for you and your dependents. The higher qualified you are, the more freedom there is to make your own schedule. Qualify young, qualify highly.
  • Choose your partner well – if you choose to have a partner do they have complimentary goals and philosophies, are they equally carrying the load, are they easy to be around, can you talk about the specifics of budgeting without fighting or someone becoming moody?
  • Choose your financial strategy early in life – are you a spender, are you a saver, what did your parents do and did it work for them, if you don’t know about money, learn! There are endless resources available online or in your library. How many hours can you put in to your career. Do you have other priorities which draw away your attention. Is your strategy working for you?
  • Choose to budget – know what is coming in and what is going out. Know the dates of payments. Write it down.
  • Choose to recognise the true cost – I mentally add the time away from my family to earn the money and the tax already taken by the government into the cost of the product and think to myself “is it still worth it?” Conversely, if you have financial woes and plenty of possessions, know their value and sell them! Generate revenue, get back some of the cash and pay down expenses.
  • Choose to find the best deals for you – as contracts come to an end, shop around. As birthdays come up, buy early and allow time for shipping at a reduced rate. As utility prices fluctuate, move deals or suppliers. As tools become needed for a DIY project check the internet vs the high street prices and make good choices.
  • Choose to cancel duff subscriptions – FREE MONEY! Who doesn’t love free money. That’s what it feels like when you find a subscription you’d forgotten about on your statement and cancel it down.
  • Choose to continue learning and growing – there will be wise people around you in your life, listen as they chat, ask questions when appropriate, learn from them, use them as a mentor.
  • Choose to ask for help – if you are in over your head, ask for help. Call the companies and tell them. Tell a friend. Approach organisations who manage these situations daily. You are in it on your own, your choices got you here and your choices are going to get you out of it, but if it all gets too much and you need expert help, ask.
  • Choose to build a reserve – if you are debt free, build a slush fund, a reserve, a cushion, whatever you want to call it, to fall back upon in tough times. Tough times always come. It’s prudent to have done what you can to make those times a little easier.

My experience has reached the Build A Reserve phase. It is quite exciting to build rather than be repairing. Feels completely different and it is actually a little scary which is silly. What if I do the next phase wrong! Anything new can be daunting so I choose to push through, carry on learning, carry on listening and carry on trying to make good choices. I may never rival the likes of a billionaire, people who I do not envy at all, they worked hard for what they have and I am pleased for them, but I can build from this point forth and can be pleased that I got my little family this far in the journey. It is hard. Oh so difficult in ways that I cannot find words to articulate. It is possibly one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I’m hoping that the effort one day feels worth it. Right now it is all a little raw and a little new so I have to let it settle in to the new normal before I can speak on that with any degree of confidence. This is my new Kittens On Roller-skates phase!

Now hopefully you’ve had a charmed life and never have to consider much of the above. You people who are adulting successfully have been a quiet inspiration over the past few years so thank you.

Critics Gonna Critique

When kids have opinions.

My kiddo is not a fan of the writing here.  The kid actively hates it. I know that because it has recently been articulated thus!  I have been articulating my journey through our experience and trying to be incredibly vague on anything which skims near her experience.  This blog is not about the kid, it’s about me, my experience of divorce, or new single life, the British Legal System, standing up to bad guys, or emotional health or single parenting in difficult circumstances from the adults perspective.  I frequently get things wrong but when I finally figure out how to do it right, I write it down.  When I started writing I didn’t quite know where I ended and others began.  I’d given away much of who I was in the name of compromise.  In writing, I find definitions.  In writing, I find a pattern of cheerfulness or hope, perhaps even a dash of courage here or there, and I definitely identify a trend in resilience.  I hope that the reference to third parties in years to come will be an evidence of my love for them and my reverent astonishment at their magnificent journey.  It is a little disappointing that I’ll likely cease referencing the kid because much of who I am is defined by her presence so it’s a little like asking a fish to describe themselves without referencing water.  I’ll figure it out.  Anyway, Kiddo, I love you and you can’t stop me shouting about that!!!

My Curly Haired Baby Finishes 3-16 School. 

16 year old kids are ready to leave school, I however am not ready. I am a hot mess.

OK, so I might have been a hot mess last night. I might have managed to keep my “I am so pleased for you, congratulations sweetie” composure as Missy dropped the news that she leaves school officially on Wednesday lunchtime. The penny dropped. I suddenly twigged that my little curly afro haired baby who’d been wearing a school uniform for over a decade would be finished with uniforms as she enters study leave for her exams. My curly haired baby who looked at me so doe eyed in those first days of school was now laughing at me getting misty eyed as she talked about the final ever classes with her favourite teachers and how they were taking pictures with the students and giving them pep talks. My child is a child to me. Sure, the world sees a 5′ 10″ young woman who is capable and confident but I see my baby fresh out the hospital or in her oversized polo shirt with a logo. They see someone doing really well in the sciences and I see Chip and Biff early reader books. They see someone who stands her ground and I see someone who needed defending. 

She is ready, I am not. 

After this summer, adulthood looms. She is going to be magnificent and rock everything she sets her mind to. I will have to continue letting her move away and acclimatise into opportunity and responsibility.  My whole mandate for 16 years has been to let her be free enough to be a child, safe and loved. Now my mandate is changing and it is happening so quickly that it is difficult keeping up but I will get there.  She still has two more years of school but is more like junior college where they’re more autonomous. My baby is no longer a baby and it has come as a surprise. 

I am often behind the emotional curve, this is nothing new, no major surprises. I am very pleased with the woman she is becoming and look forward to standing back and observing her in adulthood in a few years, but not yet. I need a little more time.