Be honest.

Or go away.

I doubt that the person I am writing this about will read it, mainly because I don’t think she follows my blogs. And if, by chance, she does read this, I hope that she understands that I prefer to use the written word to communicate my frustration, rather than trying to speak to her in person about it. I hope that she will learn from it and behave in a different way to others in the future. Because at this point, I hope to never see her again.

A couple of months ago I was teaching an Edible Landscaping class at a local library. Several people quietly edged in late – it happens, I don’t worry about it. Afterwards, one of them approached me and introduced herself. She was also a homeschool mom and Emily, who had been along with me due to a scheduling conflict, had been playing happily with her children while I conducted the class.

She was very interested in talking to me more about gardening since they had just bought a house with some acreage in Grain Valley. As I often do for people who are interested in gardening, I invited her over to see my garden and possibly get some ideas. The next week she called me and we set up a time for her to come by.

It was great having her and the kids come by. Emily joyfully played with the three younger ones and her eldest, who is fifteen or so, and she and I toured the garden, talking about all things plant and chicken and bee. The next week she asked if she could come again and I was happy to have her. At the end of the visit she mentioned that she would really love for her husband to meet me and Dave, and could they schedule something for next week?

“Sure,” I said. We set a time that would work for everyone and they all came by again.

I hate it when people disappoint me by using subterfuge. And that is just how I view what happened next.

Her husband is part of some MLM or some such nonsense. He sat Dave down and started trying to sell him on it. Dave is far more positive about MLMs than I am. He was in Amway for a while, and says he got a lot of confidence out of it, despite it not being quite his style.

I can’t stand MLMs. They are predatory and exist on manipulation and fear.

This guy wasn’t the worst I’ve seen, but I have to admit I was trying desperately to hide the hackles that had risen on my back. He was in our house, trying to sell us something. Did I mention I HATE that? He had apparently asked Dave what he wanted in the near future. Dave had said something about having a farm and so, of course, this was the selling point.

“If you really want that farm, you’ll buy this leadership program.”

For the record, I absolutely despise someone who tries to manipulate me in any way. Whether it is a used car salesman telling me how cute my little girl is, to a person peddling ‘leadership programs’ as the only way to achieving my dreams.

It disgusts me.

Worse than that, is the thought that this woman who said she was interested in gardening was probably only cultivating a friendship with me in order to get an “in” into selling me some crap leadership program that I do not need and do not want.

From the very first time I saw her, I made it clear we were secular homeschoolers. Despite this, she brought her ultra-conservative Christian leanings (and ridiculous Christian leadership program) into my home. The Christian faith I can forgive – I believe that we all have a right to our beliefs, but the ‘leadership’ book she insisted on lending me to read quite clearly categorizes anyone who does not share a faith in God as someone without values, honor, direction, or morality.

That is a line in the sand for me. I would posit that I am bound by values, honor, direction and morality far more than many self-professed Christians. I don’t need God or the bible to tell right from wrong.

If you want to sell me something – come out and say it. Don’t beat around the bush, don’t pretend to be interested in what I’m interested in, and don’t ever presume to think I am in need of spiritual intercession.

Be honest.

Or go away.

I ended up nipping their little talk in the bud and pointing out that we had all we needed, right here, to make our dreams come true. If we are so inclined, just like the Dervaes family in Pasadena, we could transform our 1/3 acre into a farm of amazing levels of productivity. And if that is what we want to do, we will end up doing it. No cultish ‘leadership programs’ needed to accomplish this, just our hearts and hands and hard work. We won’t need to manipulate anyone, sneak up on anyone and spring any MLM program on them, just us and our own intent.

We are not sheep. We are not stupid. We know our minds and hearts.

In whatever you choose to do, go forth and do it with honesty and integrity. If you choose to sell a product, make it the best product you can. If you sell your services, make them the best services possible. In all things, do good, cause no harm, and avoid manipulating others. There is plenty of money to be made in living a good and honest life. Perhaps I’ll never be a multi-millionaire. Perhaps I dream too small or put a smaller value on the classes I teach then what I could possibly earn. At least I’ll go down knowing I did my best and that I brought change, empathy, motivation and more to others.

Be honest.

Or go away.