The school bell has rung, class is now in session.
I find this saying a bit humorous but can remember the time when I first experienced the he says she says monster myself; it was in the 1st grade.
It all began when I changed schools and started my new 1st grade class. I have always enjoyed school, but my joy decreased when I encountered two boys and a girl whose main objective was to pick on me each day. I will call them the bully gang. Our classroom behavior data was tracked by the color of the sticker we received at the end of each day. A green sticker was good, yellow was ok, and red was bad.
One day I saw the bully gang over by the behavior charts messing around with a sticker. A few minutes later, they ran to the teacher, and told her I had moved someone’s sticker. I could not believe my ears; this was my first experience with a blatant lie! I truly wished at that time my teacher had a lie detector test.
The teacher came to me, and asked why I had touched the stickers? I noted she did not ask me if I did it, but why had I done it? This bothered me, but I told her that I had not touched the stickers. She went on with her accusations saying that three students had seen me, and because of that, I had a choice between a paddling or moving my own sticker to yellow. I knew that if I chose to move my sticker to yellow, I would not be able to get a special prize on Friday out of the treasurer box. Instead, like a martyr, I chose the paddle.
While receiving a paddle in the hallway, my neighbor’s class was walking by. My neighbor and friend, Louie, saw me about to get a paddle. I knew that was not good, but just wanted it to be over with. Later that evening, Louie told my parents that he saw me about to receive the paddle in the hallway. I wanted to disappear!
My parents ended up having a conference with the teacher. I thought they would give her a piece of their minds, but I was wrong. They simply let her know that in the future, she needed to call them before paddling me. Afterwards I was punished for receiving the paddle.
Finally, my day of redemption came. The bully gang was about to move a sticker again, and blame me for it, but the teacher was watching them. In case you did not know, teachers really have eyes in the back of their heads.
The bully gang moved a sticker and ran to the teacher to tell that I had moved it, but she stopped them in their tracks. She told them she had seen them and did not appreciate what they had done. I felt good because she had finally caught them red-handed!
After that experience, I experienced more he says she says (and even some she says she says) situations throughout my life, but I would like to share four reminders that help me cope when tangled in the information web.
- Ask the tale bearer, “what were they saying at the time?” – If someone approaches you with information that another person has said about you, do not let your immediate reaction be anger. Evaluate what was said and ask the person who shared the negativity, what were they saying when the conversation took place? You should inquire about this, because the person telling you the information, was [probably/most likely] talking about you as well.
- Find out the information from the source – When you hear something about yourself or someone else, do not take it at face value, go to the source! I have cleared up so many petty situations that could have ended terribly, by choosing to go straight to the person in question. When I took the time to do this, I would always find out that the story was embellished or misconstrued. If you say nothing at all and just believe what you have heard; you could end up losing a good friend/co-worker/relationship. So, it is beneficial to go to the source. The only time you do not need to do this, is if you choose to not believe or react to the information in question.
- Do not continue to pass the information to others – He says she says situations usually end up being blown out of proportion because instead of going to the source, the person continues to share the story. Do not do this, you may or may not be passing along untruths that could create irrefutable damage to a professional or personal reputation.
- You were not there – Remind yourself, when hearing a tale about someone, or something they have said, you-were-not-there. Meaning, you did not witness it with your own eyes or hear it with your own ears. You honestly only know what you were being told. Evaluate the why behind the talebearer, they may be trying to make that person look bad in your eyes. Ask yourself could they be jealous, upset or just not like the other person? What is their motive in sharing the negativity with you about that person? Once you gather the answer to these questions, you will have your reason behind this mode of gossip.
When it comes to, he says she says, I would like to leave you with these last three lines:
- Do unto others, as you would have them do unto you. ~Matthew 7:12
- Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ~Galatians 6:7
- To Forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover that the prisoner was you. ~ Lewis B. Smedes
Wellness Tip: Turn off devices before heading to bed. Leaving it on has been linked to trouble falling asleep.
“Teachers are expected to reach unattainable goals with inadequate tools. The miracle is that at ties they accomplish this impossible task.” ~Haim Ginott
The school bell has rung, class dismissed.