Kids Spitting and Truth Telling

To be “clear,” sometimes the truth is “nasty.” The following is adapted from the last chapter of my book, Life Lessons from the School Bus. 

“Unexpected Truth”

Every once in a while a bus driver, or anyone for that matter, may find himself saying, “I didn’t see that one coming!” In other words, every once in a while something happens; somebody says something that you would have never imagined. Let me tell you about one of those “once in a while’s.”

Spitting Accusations

Kids are always doing stuff to each other to be aggravating. You have probably witnessed children throwing spit wads, taking items out of another’s book bag, or hiding a child’s shoe right before her stop. No? Well what about spitting on each other?

Oh, yes, children are well-accustomed to spitting on each other, especially boys. Now, they never admit to doing it; they usually blame it on the one kid with no salivary glands. But there was this one time when a boy on my bus accused a girl of spitting on him when she actually didn’t. How do I know that she didn’t? She showed me proof!

So, “Jack” hollered from the back of the bus, “Mr. Baker! ‘Jill’ spit on me!” Before I could rationally respond, another voice came from the back, the voice of the accused, crying, “No I didn’t – he’s lying!” Since I was in the process of driving and there was no place to pull over and deal with the situation, all I could do at the moment was respond with a simple request: “STOP SPITTING!”

A moment passed, then Jill came up to the seat behind me (which is dangerous and against the rules, by the way). “Mr. Baker,” she said in a tone laced with disgust, “I did not spit on Jack; he spit on himself after he spit on the seat.”

What?” I asked. “He’s spitting on the seat?! That’s gross!”  Incidentally, this is one of those times when I find it appropriate to ask: why do people of any age find enjoyment in recreational spitting? Why waist perfectly good saliva when there’s nothing necessarily nasty to expel from one’s mouth?

Anyway, a moment or two later, Jack came up to share his side of the story. “Mr. Baker, Jill did spit on me! See my shirt? See, this is her spit…she spit on me! See?”

I couldn’t argue with what I saw. There, as plain as the marks on a Dalmatian, were wet spots where something liquidy had collided with his shirt. Somebody had spit on him.

“Jill!” I yelled, “Why did you spit on Jack?” From the back of the bus came an insistent reply, “But I didn’t! He spit on himself just to get me in trouble!”

The Truth Comes Out

Where’s Solomon when you need him? Why can’t school buses be equipped with portable DNA equipment? How was I supposed to determine who spit on whom? How could I prove who needed to be punished with a stern warning and a verbal reprimand? The answer came in a way I never would have dreamed, but I will never forget.

“Mr. Baker…” Jill had made her way back up to the seat behind me, again while I was driving. “Jill, you need to sit down!” I told her.

“But Mr. Baker…” Let me just pause here to try to describe Jill’s way of saying my name. Jill spoke with a slightly non-emotional, matter-of-fact, drawn-out southern drawl. It sounded more like “Miiis-turr Buh-ayyy-kurr…”

“Mr. Baker, I didn’t spit on Jack; he spit on the seats and then on himself to make it look like I did it,” she said. “But I didn’t, and I can prove it.”

“Really,” I asked.

“Yessir,” Jill replied. “You see, Jack was eating green candy, and the spit on his shirt was green – mine is not…SEE!

At that point, just around my right shoulder, came the arm of a little girl. Attached to that arm was a palm, and in that palm was half an ounce of spit – yes, spit! It looked like a blob of clear silicone!

“It wasn’t me that spit, ‘cause my spit is clear, seeeee Mr. Baker?”

I couldn’t argue with her. She proved her point. There was the proof puddled in the palm of her hand, clear as day. I nearly threw up.

Life Lesson

We may not like it, but sometimes the truth is hard to stomach – and nothing like what we expected.

The simple fact is that truth isn’t always pleasant; more often it is nasty. No woman wants to hear the truth when she asks, “Does this dress make me look fat?”  No man wants to hear the truth when he asks, “How did I do with the laundry?” But sometimes the truth has to be told to make a difference. Unfortunately, to play off the words of Jack Nicholson in A Few Good Men, many can’t handle the truth.

For example, there is a saying that goes, “You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Do you know where that saying came from? It comes from Jesus. He said, “If you continue in my word, then you are my disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free” (John 8:31-32). The part that is hard for many to stomach is the part where He says, “If you continue in my word…” In other words, in order to know the truth that will set one free, one must be a follower of Jesus Christ.

Some say that truth is relative, that it changes with the circumstances of life. Others have said that there is no truth, only perception (Gustave Flaubert). However, without truth there can be no lie, no wrong, and no remedy for the spit on some kid’s shirt, not to mention the darkness in our hearts. But when we follow Jesus, we can rest assured there is Truth to know, for He said in John 14:6, “I am the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE…”

Route Suggestions

  • When faced with a tough situation, one that demands you make a wise decision, ask God for help. James 1:5 says, “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God…”
  • Don’t ask someone to tell you the truth about how you look, how well you’re doing your job, etc., unless you’re willing to hear the truth.
  • Don’t “kill the messenger.” If someone does try to tell the truth, don’t get angry when they say the dress makes you look fat. Just get angry because they weren’t sensitive enough to change the subject.
  • Read the book of John in the Bible. Make a list of the claims that Jesus made. Was He telling the truth? For the atheist or agnostic, that may be a truth too hard to handle, but it can set you free.

Oh, one more thing… When preparing to write this, I asked the girl in the story what she thought the moral should be. She said, “Sometimes the truth is nasty.”



Filed under book review, Faith, General Observations, Humor, Life Lessons, salvation

11 responses to “Kids Spitting and Truth Telling

  1. Oh yeah. I’m that girl. Would definitely spit in my hand to prove I was right about something.

    Hopefully I’ve died to that a little bit with age, but I know it’s still in me to go to the mat over my perceived truths.

  2. Good morning. I am trying to figure out what this has to do with anything. Not trying to say it nasty. I gather there is something someone is doing in the church or that someone is doing and you want them to come to justice.
    Is this a recent event and are you driving bus? or is this an Old story that you are bringing up for another purpose.
    Are you saying watch out the truth will come out? is this story just about that story alone. I wonder what his motive was. Maybe he likes her but since he finds its a barrier he is angry and is taking it out on her sabotaging his relationship and she is caught in the mess of boy pulling girls hair sort of stuff.
    I guess I am wondering because I don’t like to be the one holding others accountable specially when Jesus is teaching me not to keep records of wrongs. Not that we are free to sin, or hurt, but the act of being the judge is a caustic place. I rather be on the stop that, but lets fix this, Not stop that lets punish. As they say the church kills its wounded, and I would say generally throws people under the bus.

    • There was no motivation for posting that story other than to remind people of my book, tell a funny story to people who may have never heard it, and share a little truth. No hidden agenda. Nobody to call out. And it’s from 2014; I’m not driving a bus, anymore.

      • the truth I am working on today is the fact no one wants to help the homeless. Trying to find help for a lady who lives in her van is on disability but isn’t totally dysfunctional. The truth is Jesus said a condition of salvation is that we do not pass someone by on the road, yet everyone is passing everyone on the road. And it costs time to help the venerable which none of us have. I wonder at the gates of pearl if Jesus will say, sorry I saved my grace for someone else. I learned that from people. there is a hard truth for today.

      • There are many more Pharisees than Good Samaritans, but they do exist. You are evidently one.

      • Well, I guess time will tell, but what I figured out about statements Jesus made is they are zip files. when you dig deeper and connect what he is saying from Luke 10:25 and the comments he makes in Matthew 6 and 7 it becomes pretty clear this is more than just about helping a guy out in a bind but about a change of how we see others and ourselves. In short the term contempt comes up over an over from genesis to exodus to book of Samuel and Davids sins to why Israel was kicked out of the promised land. The zip file of stories of Jesus seem to tie to Old testament issues, and Apostles seem to mention , things like don’t do like what they did and they fell in the wilderness. The truth being every where you go, even 1 Cor 14 and paul telling people to be quiet unless you can be understood the issue is a problem of not valuing the other person enough to care if they hear or if they are Ok, or if they have something, but instead will throw people under the bus, say someone else spit on them etc. And the reality is Jesus will not let that sort of stuff into heaven, even if it comes from the pope himself. Unless someone is converted and becomes as a little child and done so by the blood of Christ they will not have a part in the kingdom.
        Not that I am a legalist, that one act makes salvation. Salvation is born from that washing and regeneration. What I think the zip file says when opened is, conversion is that not just an acceptance of some truths. but a conversion to live by the truth that we must love one another or we are not converted at all. And in this society that truth unzipped makes people choke.

      • It’s a lot easier to give a dollar than a cup of water, that’s for sure.

      • yep, and that’s why Jesus said the widow gave more than the rich man. It cost her but it cost them nothing. So the intent of the heart was judged by Jesus as being suspect. We do a lot because of obligation but what do we do because our heart is different. If no one is watching. or if its going to cost do we seek out to help or avoid or if its hard do we seek out others to help us help others.
        Some times I think the only reason people check their blind spot is so it doesn’t inconvenience them, but if they could they would simply change lanes and watch others spin out of control . half the time I think people give the cup of water and the buck so they can continue to walk by not so they can stop. And I have to say I got work to do, and stopping is not easy.

      • Just pulling into home depot and wanted to say i will do a op on churches who think you have to speak in tongues to be saved have missed the boat. Even if those in acts did. And salvation is not about helping homeless but its about conversion.

      • That’s a lot to put into one post 🙂 I’d make it a two-part series. And I agree.

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