Paying for Other’s Bad Behavior Is Making Me a Little Cranky

Lucy courtesy Charles Schulz via Cafe Press

Lucy courtesy Charles Schulz via Cafe Press

Now in my mid 40’s, I’ve officially experienced enough of life where paying (in time or money) for other people’s bad behavior, no-show tendencies, and last-minute procrastination is making me cranky. Over my adult life, when I or my kids have received unfair treatment, I’ve definitely handled it firmly, but always with respect toward others, even when they might not have deserved it. I’ve followed policies that were ridiculous because I “understood”. Why have I attempted to do the right things? I have hoped to be a good example to my kids. I’ve thought that it would please God. Because I’ve observed that the senior citizens who are still nice after 80 years of living on this planet have made the effort to remain kind. Now that my kids are teenagers, I’m a little worn out from always doing the right things.

– For example, my son had his wisdom teeth out recently. I had written proof (and so did the office) that my insurance would cover the cost. The “policy” was that I had to pay $700 cash up front and wait 2 months for the office to write me a refund check. I was a little cranky. When I questioned the policy, the response was, “Well, so many parents weren’t paying their balance not covered by insurance.” But I’m not that parent!

– For years, the same 15% of the congregation at church did 100% of the work. Instead of being grateful, the 85% often complained about something. This makes volunteers a little cranky. The followers of the “serve your church” rule get piled with more until they learn that sometimes, you have to say “no”, and they hate to say no.

– One of my children takes instrument lessons and the teacher sent out a lengthy handbook about new policies. The book’s theme hinted: ‘I’ve been burned and now-no more.’ Extremely specific guidelines were printed and parents were asked to sign. Why? Because some Moms call to say they’re not taking their kids out of the pool for lessons. I’m not that parent. I’m a rule follower. I’ll bring my tired child to lessons even if they need a day off to rest because I respect the teacher’s time, not because I’m a Tiger Mom. Other parents are paying late? Yes, I’ll be happy to pay in advance, even though I just paid the oral surgeon $700. But, when I’m asked to pay for days when I know 6 months in advance that I won’t be there – and, when I have to pay a mandatory fee for events my child isn’t participating in, I’m a little cranky. Guess what? The non-payers will still pay late or not at all. The same parents will still blow off their lesson times without a courtesy phone call.

– Three days ago, I applied for a new job online. I embarked on completing a tortuously-long application form, which took me over an hour and a half to finish. Every other paragraph inserted a “WARNING” that “IMMEDIATELY” after completing the application, a personality test was required, or the information would NOT be looked at. I submitted the application, resume, cover letter, and rights to a 4th child if I ever have one. Then, I began the insanely time consuming personality test. I followed the directions – “immediately” beginning the personality test, when really, I should have ignored the “warnings” like most everyone else apparently does.

The test was getting so complicated (I was doing algebra), I took a quick break and scanned my email. I emailed the application at 1:03pm and began the long assessment. At 1:05pm, I received an email from said company that after careful consideration, they would not be pursuing my candidacy. Two minutes after I submitted part one of a “mandatory” two-part process, I received the automated Dear John letter. I was already an hour into the personality assessment.

Not sure if I should laugh or cry at how I had just spent an afternoon of my life, I emailed the Corporate Recruiter a friendly suggestion about how his Human Resources division could operate a little more respectfully of qualified candidates who actually read and follow the directions. After a little investigating with them and another large institution, guess why testing is required? So many people lie on their application forms, they need a “better” assessment than a resume. Guess why automated “not selected” responses are sent 2 minutes after submissions? The companies aren’t always recruiting for an existing position, they are bulking up their files to demonstrate a “commitment to diversity” for possible future examination.

– I’m sure you have countless examples of your own frustrations. I won’t torture you or myself with the broader issues of national health care and the number of people living in America who impressively avoid paying their taxes for 20 years.

Those who brag about “beating the system”, and who circumvent every other routine responsibility that is a normal part of being a grown up: have mercy on us do-gooders that you mock. Please obey the rules. Be honest. It’s getting really hard for us to stay sweet toward you. 🙂

“We can’t allow ourselves to get tired of living the right way.” Galations6:9GWT

There ARE Honest People Out There!

Courtesy TaylorSwift.com

Courtesy TaylorSwift.com

My girls and I took a road trip to see the extraordinarily talented and kind  Taylor Swift in Philadelphia last weekend.  After a 2-hour rain delay, we were wowed by her excellent performance.  Since my son and husband often travel for hockey, we called this our “hockey weekend”.

After a day and a half of sight-seeing, my girls were ready for the big concert.  My 16-year old daughter saw Taylor Swift in Toronto a month ago, but my 14-year old had never been to a concert like this, so she was off the wall with excitement.  She was sure that her carefully designed poster would be spotted by Taylor Swift and that she would indeed meet her that very night ;).

We arrived 3 hours before the doors opened, and ate dinner at NBC Sports Arena, where they lowered the volume of the Phillies game to blast a Taylor Swift song – and my girls went crazy!  My 14-year old bought two shirts with her own saved money and clutched that pretty bag like it was Taylor herself.  Looking forward to the concert put her on top of the world.  Just before the lights went down she said, “just think, we are sharing the same air with Taylor Swift right now!”

After the long road trip and the endless anticipation due to rain, Taylor was finally about to appear on stage when I began picking up the bags so they didn’t get soaked on the wet pavement.  I didn’t see my youngest daughter’s Swift bag (full of more than the tee-shirts) so I asked her where it was.  She frantically looked around.  Somewhere in the rain delay, we lost the bag containing $90 worth of Swift merchandise, her wallet with $88 in cash, her purse filled with “notes from Mama”, her souvenir Walt Disney World hotel card and other belongings.  If you knew my daughter, you’d know that the cash she’d saved for months was the last thing she cared about losing.  Everything else had great sentimental value.

As the lights dimmed and Taylor Swift took the stage, my baby girl had tears running down her cheeks (and sadly, it wasn’t from seeing Taylor).  She had waited for this moment all summer, and the moment was robbed.

I immediately left the seats, told the girls to stay, and searched for the missing bag.  I left my name and number with Lost and Found.

As the first song ended, no smile was on her face, she wiped her cheeks repeatedly, and her eyes stared at me wide.  Unable to stand the concern in her face, I firmly yelled over the crowd, “everything in that bag is replaceable.  You cannot replace this night seeing Taylor Swift – please enjoy this.”

She recovered as best she could and did dance and sing under her big, RED, cowgirl hat, but I knew there was a cloud over her night.  I snuck out from my seat again to buy the missing tee shirts as replacements… I got one, but the other was sold out.  Back at the hotel she confided that she didn’t feel as happy as she should have at the concert.  Then, she voiced worry about “bad guys” who may have her bag finding out where she lived!

All of Sunday and back in our home state on Monday morning, I called the Lost and Found at the Lincoln Financial Field.  I was praying, even if the cash was missing, the rest would be returned.

Monday morning my daughter came down the stairs with her curly, long hair a mess, her eyes sleepy, holding up a book.  She pointed to a scripture that promised that God would “provide” her missing bag.  I was in awe of her faith, knowing that the chances of that bag full of goodies being returned was slim.

The title tells the end of this story, and Lincoln Financial Field called back  confirming that everything was safely in their office.  Though unknown to me, I blessed over the person that turned it in, incredibly grateful.  I’m thankful that there are still honest people in our often corrupt world. I also gave a shout out to Lincoln Financial Field on TripAdvisor for their kindness in shipping the bag to us within 2 days.

As I always try to do, I’ll be paying it forward… 🙂