She leaned over, cupped her hand around her mouth and started to whisper into my ear, but for the fourth time in a row, my friend couldn’t get any words our due to the giggles that kept overtaking her. After taking a few deep breaths and composing herself, she tried again. “Frogs in frocks lick spoons” she whispered before exploding into even greater fits of giggles.
I looked at her and joined in the laughter realising just how stupid this game of Chinese whispers had gotten. I was last in the line and it was my job to try to figure out what the original whisperer had said. I had NO idea!
It was in the early 1990’s and I was in my early teens. I was at an Easter Camp with my church’s youth group and the idea of the game was to find a really bizzarro bible verse and whisper it along 9 or 10 people to see what we came up with at the end. The original verse here was: Proverbs 19:25 ‘Flog a mocker and the simple will learn prudence’.
As you can see – the end result wasn’t even CLOSE to the original phrase. In fact, it really no longer made any sense at all! Sure, there were parts of it that were similar to the original, and the phonetics were close but the gist couldn’t be more different. It had taken on a whole new meaning that wasn’t even related to the original phrase and it had therefore become laughable and ridiculous.
But imagine if I took that whisper as gospel, and I became convinced that the bible did in fact have a lot of verses about frogs who liked to dress up in drag and lick utensils?! Imagine if I was SO convinced that what I’d heard was correct that I started to pass that information onto other people and try to convince them that as strange as it sounded- it was correct BECAUSE I’D HEARD IT WITH MY OWN EARS!
Stupid when you put it like that isn’t it?
But that’s exactly what happens with gossip. Someone hears something, they miss maybe a few vital facts so they substitute them with a few made up ones of their own –that seem likely enough to be believable– and then relay that information to another friend. That friend then does the same thing but then adds even more information based on what someone ELSE told them –or what they have observed themselves– and pass THAT on. And so on and so on and so on.
Which brings me to my point.
Most people know by now that we have withdrawn our boys from their old school and that we have left our church. Most people have probably heard some version of the events through various sources and channels but there are only a very small amount of people who have heard any of this from us.
Yes, I told other parents in the playground that my boys weren’t coming back next year when they wished us a good holiday and said “See you next year” but there are only a select few who know the reasons behind our decisions. Other than that, we have barely spoken of these events to anyone.
Therefore, there are only a very small number of people who know the full truth and those people are friends who we know 100% that we can trust.
So it surprises me that I am still getting phone calls and text messages and emails asking us if “such and such” really happened. And it leaves me speechless when I am told “So and so said that you said this and I want to know if that’s really what happened?”
Seriously. It continues to amaze me.
The things that I have been accused of supposedly doing, and the fictitious conversations that I have been dragged into are all Chinese whispers people.
I can say without reservation that I did NOT have a screaming match with anyone. I have not gone on bitching rants running down anyone in leadership in either organisation and I definitely have not created and spread lies about either of them at all. In fact, I don’t even have any type of conversation about the school OR the church because that’s not who we are.
Bottom line is – unless you heard it from Paul or myself- there is probably a lot of frogs in frocks licking spoons going on.
If you know what I mean 😉
I apologise if this post has come across as anything other than my original intent – to use this public platform to categorically deny any accusations against us and to request that if you know us personally and you hear something- remember that those who gossip are really telling you more about themselves than they are about the subject of their stories.