Saturday, May 25, 2013

Beyond the HoneyBadger: Finding Honor Courage and Commitment

Life experiences alter personal views of "the big picture".  I feel we are constantly preaching to our kids- keep an eye on the big picture. How does what you are doing affect those around you and your future? Kids are not hard wired to do this. It must be taught, learned, impressed, steamrolled or transferred however possible. It's rather ironic considering the lingering thoughts of impermanence that go through your mind when you have a hereditary cancer syndrome.

One year ago, I sat through the girls' May Day celebration recently armed with the knowledge that I had 3 tumors in my breast. I still had the bandage protecting my arm where a sarcoma tumor had been removed with insufficient margins. My husband was across the ocean. All I could think about was those 3 girls and their performances and how much it meant for me to be there and that I had absolutely NO idea how I would be doing next year.

I can now say that at times, dealing with 4 tumors is infinitely less stressful than dealing with some of the wack jobs of parents that litter our community. It saddens me so greatly that these certain few dregs are allowed to ruin a sense of community due to litigious threats. If only I could surgically remove these cancers of the community- I would truly have earned my place as an effective social contributor. I often think the term bullying has been way over emphasized. Bullying is and always has been a real problem- and I appreciate the steps at awareness- but sometimes the only solution is to just stand up to bullies. I've found that you will always run in to bullies. People can be wonderful and supportive and generous- as we learned again last year. Families at school, we had never met- brought us dinners when they heard of my cancer.  The PTA president checked on me daily. I learned that word travels pretty fast in a small community. We didn't tell a lot of people, but we needed the girls to have the extra support from their teachers and I didn't want them to think I was slacking at home.  People can also be selfish and dishonest and conniving. Other people in these circles try and explain to you that this person"means well".  No. Who do they mean well for-their child? Is it doing your child a service if you create a tornado of stress and disarray around them merely so they will not feel bad or left out of a position that they did not earn?

There is one parent in particular that brought such an air of negativity to the entire end of this school year. She is the type of person whose narcissistic insecurity is cloaked in sickly sweet honey. So that if on certain occasions I cannot completely ignore her presence in my world and if it becomes absolutely necessary to refer to her at all- as in this post- she will be the Honeybadger. She would delight in the name and the fact that she is being recognized. She loves recognition. She is the type that goes around telling you how wonderful she and her children are and that she can recognize you are a good parent because she is such a good parent and she can tell that because your children are good children and she has good children and she is a good parent so you must be a good parent. Over and Over. She is the type of parent that publicly announces her 12 year old's time of the month as an excuse for poor behavior.  Yet when her child gets in-school suspension for threatening another child and bullying- she calls you to tell you it is a misunderstanding and you should know that because you are a good parent and she is a good parent and oh her daughter told your daughter about the incident and if anyone asks your daughter about said incident she needs to say she doesn't know anything so her child doesn't get a bonafide suspension. That seems like an exemplary case of good parenting to me.

I am airing my grievances so I can be done with this. I spent the better part of the year avoiding her craziness and she continued to bring it into my world. She negatively affected not only me and my children- but the ENTIRE school community. The ENTIRE May Day program was put on hold so she could air her grievances- mainly that she thought her daughter deserved to be on the court. Part of me says- Jen Mallory are you seriously in the grand scheme of life and cancer and death- gonna air grievances over idiotic drama? The answer is yes- 1) because in the persuit of normal- this is a normal problem people face daily and 2) this person is a cancer and my resounding view is that cancer must go. Since there is no cure for stupid and this type of person will not change- I have to clean my energy and this is part of that process.  So here are my list of grievances against said parent:

1) The aforementioned asking my child to lie for her child.
2) Littering my inbox with overdramatic emails about the girls DC Fundraisers/Trip and not knowing what their roommate "was capable of".
3) Having her child steal the list of May Day Selectees and their ranking.
4)Using said list to disrupt the entire production and littering the email of the Complex superintendent with her drivel about corruption.
5)Acting like an overall asshole
6) Bullying my daughter
7) Encouraging/Allowing her daughter to bully my daughter
8) Having to spend any time at all dealing with her nonsense- in the form of meetings with administration, meetings with teachers, meetings with other parents. 

Girls can be mean. I will not list the grievances against her child. She is a child and I hope through the careful guidance of school staff and other outside influences- said child can ultimately learn the err of her mother's ways. Unfortunately experience and common sense tell me she will grow up to act like the entitled princess she is treated as. All I know is that I stood from a distance and watched her follow my daughter into the bathroom and run across the field to tattle as Kiera came out shocked and in tears over her comments on Kiera's hula . This was only one of several incidents I witnessed. I heard of several more from Kiera and other girls- I don't let them gossip but I am beginning to see they were relating truth. It was a learning experience for all of us. It afforded me many, many, many opportunities to use Honeybadger and her badgering offspring as examples of how not to behave and how 2 people's negative behavior can detrimentally affect an entire community. I used it as a teaching opportunity for my kids and some of the school's International Baccalaureate core values- Honeybadger did not show respect for the program, the staff or the students when she falsely claimed corruption in the May Day selection process. The staff showed there was integrity in the selection process, cooperated and communicated the process. The process was in fact flawed and steps were already being taken to remedy the confusion so that future years would be easier. It takes courage to stand up and fight when you think you have been wronged- yet Honeybadger went about the process with a complete lack of tolerance, principle and overwrought with dishonesty. Remember- "Honeybadger don't give a shit- honeybadger takes what he wants"

I debated whether or not speaking to Honeybadger would make any difference. She is the parent who tells any school staff member that corrects her child that they are to talk to her directly if her child misbehaves. Unfortunately when staff does this- 8 excuses are at the ready, mostly it's always that time of the month- and the behavior does not change. When the child is not awarded recognition at the school assembly for exhibiting the values of the program- the child is allowed to stay home , but of course I am assuming that was because it was that time of month.  When I pick my child up in school and she is in tears because said Honeybadger told her that she should not be doing hula for the talent show - well then it is time for me to step in and have a discussion with this person. Log another 40 minutes of my life wasted on this drivel.  And I was so perpetually sad and angry that I allowed myself to feel stress when this person is not worth it. As we are in the car on the way home- I haven't even calmed down enough to talk to my kids and Kiera reaches over and takes my hand and says "Thank You. "  I say- for what- after all I didn't buy them ice cream or drinks or snacks- that's usually the only time I get thanks. " For standing up for me." Through all the stress- it was right there before me all the time. Honeybadger is a bully and my daughter wasn't being over emotional- she was being bullied. My mama bear instinct was to protect my child and it was right. Sometimes we can not protect our children from the experience, but we can teach them how to better protect their emotions and reactions to people that are undeserving of our time and energy. This woman tried to shake my daughter's confidence. She succeeded briefly. There was a time I wanted to pull her from the May Day court so I didn't have to feel the stress- but I knew how much it meant to her. I later had parents tell me they were so glad I didn't pull her that Kiera embodied the spirit of May Day and we all knew who would have campaigned for her spot.

I think in the process, we all learned. I made new friends who knew of the situation and showed me and my kids support. Friends that show the values I encourage my children to emulate. As we showed up to the 6th Grade Promotion ceremony- Kiera noticed that Honeybadger had half a dozen balloons- several blow up toys and bags of leis. Tradition in Hawaii is to literally smother the "graduate" in leis. I respect the tradition, but the clausterphobic allergy sufferer in me lies awake dreading accomplishing anything in this culture. I spent the night before making 2 yarn and kukui nut leis in Kiera's favorite color. Flowers die, but these leis would be tokens of how proud her dad and I are of her hard work and growth this year as a young lady. As we sat through the ceremony, the special awards were being given. A marine has been tasked with giving the big award- THE award for one girl and one boy who have exemplified the school's values and exceptional academic performance. Their names will go on a plaque in the office for eternity. Kiera spent hours and hours working on school work this year. She really tried. It was not easy for her- academics are a struggle- but she worked hard. Her grades weren't always exceptional- but compared to previous years- she really came into her own. So when the Captain calls her name- I am floored and so unbelievably happy for the little mighty mite I can hardly contain myself. I know there are several other kids who have worked as hard as her- so for someone other than me or her dad to acknowledge her was enormous! It was further acknowldgement that in life- there will always be people who try to knock you down. When you keep your calm and carry on, it will all work out and others notice. And then maybe a marine will make everyone stand at attention and give you award. Yeah that's kinda cool. 2 people can do a lot of damage in a community. So imagine how much good 2 can do. I am the very proud mama of one of those 2.

In the world of scoreless games and everyone wins trophies- they have become devalued. Normally I emphasize personal strength and that awards do not give you merit- you earn merit and the merit is a personal scorecard. I've caught Kiera reading her award once or twice- so I finally sat down and read it and realized that a simple piece of paper with a few carefully chosen words can once again can be valued- not for it's existence- but for what it stands for and what we stand for.

Commanding Officer, Headquarters Battalion, Marine Corps Base Hawaii takes pleasure in commending Kiera Mallory for  exceptional academic performance and student leadership during the 2012-2013 school year. Throughout the academic year, Kiera Mallory demonstrated a superior level of leadership, maturity, and academic contribution beyond that of her fellow students. Her outstanding work ethic and embodiment of our Marine Corps' core values has culminated in her selection as the 2013 Iroquois Point Elementary School's Marine Corps Honor, Courage, and Commitment Award recipient. Kiera Mallory's display of hard work and dedication to academics reflected great credit upon her and were in keeping with the highest traditions of Iroquois Point Elementary School's International Baccalaureate Attitudes and the United States Marine Corps' Core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment.  Given this 21st Day of May.

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Lily Kay Monkey

Lily Kay Monkey
November 2008 Photographed by Shelley Detton (7 Layer Studio)