Last week I became one of ‘those’ people.
Researching genealogy has relied on family stories, written diaries, and documents. Now it has the truth. DNA. DNA doesn’t lie, it just gives you the facts. Unbiased, unwavering, insensitive facts.
People talk about the dangers of using DNA to research genealogy. DNA might reveal that the stories, diaries, and documents sometimes lie. Sometimes, even a birth certificate lies because the people who created it were there for the birth, not the conception.
On 23 January 2017, I became one of those people who found out that the DNA test disproved everything I had been led to believe about who I was, and to what family I belonged. I found out that the man who raised me as his son, was not my father.
Six decades ago, my mother became pregnant with a man known to her and our family. I was born in December of that year. I looked enough like my mother, that it probably wasn’t too difficult to sell the idea that I was the legitimate child of my father. In addition, the man we believe to be my father was tragically killed in an accident when I was five, so I didn’t really have a chance to interact with him as I grew up.
If it were not for the DNA test, I would have never known…until one of my children took a DNA test. Truth can be relentless.
What Do You Say to the Half-Son?
The news was unreal, then surreal, then it got strange. There is no way to describe how it feels to have a fundamental truth about yourself suddenly proven wrong. The displacement of my reality was not a sudden shock, but a creeping wave of unrest and confusion.
Some people might have been hesitant to share this information with others. Those people hate me. I’m not a private or secretive person, and after I realized that I had lived a lie for almost sixty years, I was determined to end the secret as quickly as possible.
Most of the immediate family members of both families have passed away, so other than ‘honor’ of both families, and the memories of the people involved, this was a matter that impacted me and my children. While trying to be sensitive to both families, I posted the news on Facebook.
Mostly, the reaction was stunned silence. I found out later that many people had read the post, but what do you say to someone in my position? I’m willing to bet even Hallmark doesn’t have a card for this situation.
The reaction was typically positive and supportive. There was a suggestion that the DNA test might be wrong, and a couple of people began suggesting that the affair might not have been consensual. I gave a terse response to one of those comments and deleted it.
One of the first questions that occurred to me was, “Who knew, and when did they know it.” It is somewhat of a pointless exercise because most people have passed on, and those still alive who may have known are not likely to implicate themselves in the deception.
I am confident my mother knew, or strongly suspected I was not her husband’s child. Several reactions and responses to questions about my family history seemed indicate she was deliberately vague and at times, almost disruptive to my research.
Among the most obvious oddities was her insistence that my fraternal grandfather was half to three quarters Native American. This was almost always followed by a reference that my coloring, (brown hair, brown eyes, and dark complexion) was Native American. The last time she made this reference, my brother had already proven that as far back to 1803, and beyond there was no Native American blood in the Kiser or Warner family.
The Brutality of Deception
Deception is an insidious malady. The bigger the deception, the more it infects a person’s sense of well being. I can’t imagine what my mother experienced during a lifetime of keeping this deception going, especially when the man who was most likely my real father died. His sudden death, mixed with the probability he was my father, could not have created a more chaotic mix of emotions for my mother.
As I became an adult I tried to analyze my mother and father’s relationship. It was clear that they were not in a positive emotional relationship. To me it felt more like they were performing the expected roles, but not with any emotional connection. It’s possible that was their behavior around me, but I suspect it was noticed by others.
My interactions with my mother were typically civil, but I would never have considered them warm. I don’t think she treated my brothers any different. That was who she was as a mother.
However, now I have to wonder if she saw me as the child that added complications in her life. Did my presence create a psychological conflict within her? Did she fear that other people might have known and were talking behind her back?
I can’t imagine what would have happened if the truth would have come out when I was a child, and perhaps it was best for everyone that it didn’t come out, but the collateral damage of maintaining a deception likely affected my mother’s relationships with my father, with the family, and with me. I am disturbed that she didn’t respect me enough to tell me at some point. To deny me the truth was unfair to me and my children.
The lesson of this is that deception can be as destructive as the truth. My mother may have believed she escaped the consequences of her situation by lying and maintaining that lie, but I don’t believe she did. I think she created a hole in her life, and now a lot of people are falling in that hole.
But now it is time to move forward. It is strange, but my last name feels like I am lying every time I say it. I feel I have to say, “My name is Paul Kiser, but actually I’m not a Kiser by blood.” I don’t think I’ll do that when I go through immigration next week, but still, the impulse is there.
Fortunately, my children, and the children of the other family are intrigued by the new family history. As offsetting as this is in the old world of hiding shame and embarrassment, the new world doesn’t end when someone’s decades old indiscretions come to light.
And this is where the story begins.
It’s no longer rumor. Pokémon GO is now a partner with Starbucks, and it is the perfect match.
At shortly after noon today (8 December 2016,) Mountain Standard Time, Niantic (the developer/partner of the Pokémon GO app for The Pokémon Company International aka: TPCi) turned on over 7,500 new PokéStops and Pokémon Gyms at Starbucks locations around the United States. Starbucks also began serving Pokémon GO frappuccinos to complete the partnership.
During its July launch, Pokémon GO placed PokéStops and Gym in retail centers and malls, creating a windfall of potential customers; however, businesses were not active partners with Pokémon (TCPi.) This week’s launch of business partnerships with Starbucks and Sprint (launched yesterday) signals a new era in cross-pollination of business interests with increased customer traffic created by the Pokémon GO game.
Rumors suggest that Pokémon GO is not finished in December surprises. The most anticipated update is the addition of the second generation of Pokémon GO characters. Trainers (players) are running out of new characters to capture, so a holiday event that includes expansion of the character field would be vital to keeping trainer interest.
On or about November 20, 2015, Michael Warner Kiser died in his home of a heart attack. He was 65. His death marked the end of a century of Kiser/Barrick family history in Moffat County. This is the story of those families.
Early Northwestern Colorado
To understand northwestern Colorado it is important to know the context of the political and cultural history that shaped its destiny. Until 1847, northwestern Colorado was part of northeastern Mexico. In that year the Mexican Government signed the Treaty of Hidalgo Guadalupe at gunpoint after losing the Mexican American War. Colorado did not become a State until 1876 and Moffat County did not exist until 1911.
While Native Americans, primarily the Ute Indians thrived in northwestern Colorado, the opinions of early European explorers in the late 1700’s and 1800’s about the value of the area were not kind. In 1844, John C. Fremont said the country was nearly worthless. In 1869, John Wesley Powell came to the same conclusion, holding out that with massive irrigation the area might produce crops, but there wasn’t enough water.
In the 1860’s gold had been discovered in the mountain creeks west of Denver and men fanned out into the Rockies. In 1865, a group of men found small quantities of gold around an extinct volcano in northwestern Colorado. The primary discoverer, Joseph Hahn was apparently betrayed by one of his partners who left him and another man in the field while he allegedly was off to get supplies. He never returned and Hahn died in an attempt to reach civilization in April of 1867. The extinct volcano was named Hahn’s Peak in honor of him.
Mining continued to expand in the late 1860’s in northwestern Colorado, but the lack of significant ore deposits and lack of access to and from the area brought an end to the fickle growth created by prospectors.
Farther west in the high desert of northwestern Colorado, Native Americans, primarily the Utes, maintained their traditional nomadic lifestyle; however, some western Europeans sought to retrain the indigenous people and make them adopt the western culture. The effort created conflict between the Native Americans and the caucasian invaders. In 1879, a minor incident of shoving an agent, Nathan Meeker, led to him requesting troops be sent to the area. Ultimately, both sides lost control of the situation and a U.S. Army detachment was attacked resulting in 50 men wounded or killed. An outcry for ‘justice’ led to the 1881 relocation of all Ute Indians from their Colorado lands into Utah. This opened the door for Congress to declare the vacated lands open to homesteading in 1882.
As the Utes were moved out, the cattle ranchers moved in. This created a pressing need for better transportation to the area to ship cattle to Denver; however, a centralized gathering point had to be established to move cattle in and out of the area and many of the existing towns lacked the geographic qualifications needed as a cattle and transportation center.
In the late 1880’s, the founding of Steamboat Springs created a target for those who sought to create a transportation link to northwestern Colorado. It also had the benefit of being near the Oak Creek area where new coal deposits were discovered.
Almost simultaneously, the inflow of homesteaders coming from the Denver side of the Rocky Mountains created the need to build roads and rail lines over the high altitudes and steep terrain of the Continental Divide, but the challenges would take years.
It would not be until 1909, that the railroad would reach to Steamboat Springs, and almost overnight Steamboat Springs became the largest cattle transportation center in the country. Had the railroad ended in Steamboat Springs, the town might have become twice as large and hindered the growth of any other communities in northwestern Colorado, but the plan for the railroad had never been to end in a community just on the other side of the Rocky Mountains.
Knowing the railroad was coming farther west, William H. Tucker established a townsite about 40 miles west of Steamboat Springs. One of his primary financial backers was Reverend William Bayard Craig, and so he named the town Craig. The first census of Craig in 1910 was only 392 people; however, with the completion of the railroad to Craig in 1913, the town would triple in size by the 1920 census to 1,297 citizens.
In 1911, the State legislature created Moffat County by carving out the western two-thirds of Routt County and made the three year-old town of Craig the new county seat. Growth in Steamboat Springs flatlined for decades after Craig and Moffat County were established and even with the development of one of the nation’s premier ski areas in 1963, Steamboat Springs remained Craig’s junior until the late 1990’s.
Two years after Moffat County was established, the Barrick family came to homestead. Five years after that the first Kiser family would follow them. That would begin a century of intertwining history of these two families that would end with the death of Michael Kiser in 2015.
NEXT: Part II – Two Family’s Destiny Unfolds
ALSO: Part III – Another Radiator Springs
- The idea or suggestion lacked thought or had no basis in fact. (e.g.; Would Donald Trump be a good President?)
- The idea or suggestion has obvious flaws. (e.g.; Should we let a gun be in a room with a bunch of 2nd grade children?)
- Is a matter of personal opinion or seeks personal approval. (e.g.; Would you go out with me?)
But when an idea or suggestion doesn’t fall under any of these categories, the “no” answer becomes a potential weapon of personal destruction for the person saying it, and a beautiful opportunity for the person on the receiving end.
Being the youngest of four boys, my brothers and parents became accustomed to telling me ‘no.’ I was constantly asking questions and making suggestions, and the ‘yes’ answer was likely to encourage me. In those situations where I actually had a good idea, it was enough that as the youngest member of the family, a ‘no’ answer was valid.
As an adult, I never had any expectations that my ideas and suggestions would be better received, so hearing ‘no’ was an irritation, but I accepted it as part of life.
However, I as grew older I noticed that some people seemed to enjoy telling other people ‘no.’ Often these people were in leadership positions and their tactic was to dominate and/or intimidate others. In some cases people would act as a dictator within the organization, silencing the ideas and opinions of others with a type of ‘no’ answer that implied dire consequences if the person didn’t drop the subject, or the idea was treated so lightly as if the person was unintelligent for making the suggestion. For years I thought that part of being a good manager was to have the privilege and responsibility to tell others, “NO!”
Then several years ago I joined a service club and became very involved in the organization. I served on several Boards and committees. I discovered that I could manipulate some people because I always knew their response to whatever I suggested would be, ‘no.’
It was then I realized that when someone says ‘no,’ it is a gift. The “No-ee” has done all they are required by making the suggestion or asking the question. The “No-er” has put their reputation and respectability on the line. The ‘no’ answer gives them all the responsibility, and, as a situation plays out, their failure to consider someone else’s idea or suggestion may be the fatal decision that brings them down.
I still find enjoyment of sometimes asking a perfectly legitimate question of someone I know will give me a ‘no’ answer. It is even more interesting to do this when I have more information about the issue or situation than they do and they can’t help but give me an answer that will eventually haunt them.
Still, I have learned that organizations and relationships with ‘no’ people are typically doomed. There’s a time to experience the joy of ‘no,’ and then there are times it’s best to walk away and shake the dust off your sandals.
I have had a few instances of being told I was right. These typically come years after the fact when the acknowledgement is almost meaningless regarding the original idea, issue, or choice. The irony is that the issue discussed years ago is irrelevant, but how the person responded to my idea or concern established the quality of our relationship.
Years of interactions with people through work, social, and personal experiences has taught me that relationships are defined by the quality of respect the two people have for each other. Communication is about sharing information and being correct or not about an issue is secondary to the quality of the relationship. We are not taught that in school, but it is something learned as patterns develop with the people in our social circles.
The way a person responds to our ideas and concerns defines the quality of respect they have for who we are as a person, and that defines the relationship.
A dismissive response is the lowest form of respect to a person. Adults often are dismissive of children, and that is a valid description of the relationship between two adults when one is dismissive or condescending to another person. The classic, “Let’s just agree to disagree” is a great example of a dismissive response. If this is happening in a work relationship it means that your value to that person is nonexistent and that you should be seeking a different work environment.
In a personal relationship it means that you are a pet or child to the person and you should take action to get them out of your life. Once a person treats you as an inferior, others will model that and everyone around you will devalue your relationship with them.
The next lowest form of respect is when someone is deflective or derogatory to you when you express concern about an issue. This behavior can be recognized by responses that begin with or include the following:
“You’ve always disliked. ..” or “You don’t know for sure that…” or “Here you go again…”
The point here is that the person is not responding to your concern, just devaluing you and anything you have to say. It is a close cousin to a dismissive response, but the person feels a need to answer your concern, even though the answer is actually an insult to your intelligence.
Another close relative of the Dismissive Response is the Illogical Response. It is the type of response that has the appearance of a discussion of two people who mutually respect each other; however, the response is often a desperate attempt to suggest Point A is negated by Point B, but in reality Point A has nothing to do with Point B.
An example of this is if Ryan is saying that a school’s quality is on the decline because some of the best teachers in a school are leaving and Barbara counters by saying the school has a great reputation for the quality of education. Barbara’s argument is based on past performance, but Evan’s argument is talking about current and future performance.
The hallmark of any valid discussion is the respect the people involved have for each other. When both people respect each other every attempt will be made to reach a reasonable solution because the relationship is more important than the argument.
Finally, when someone comes back to you years after a discussion and tells you that you were correct, it really is about admitting the lack of respect they had for you, and they are attempting to recognize their error. Never assume that they have found a new respect for you because respect is not a quality that returns once it has been lost.
Kim Davis, County Clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, is not a surprise. There are a lot of political offices out in America to be filled and it is not surprising that an ignorant, unqualified person is elected to office. It is not even surprising that the ignorant, unqualified person ran as a Democrat, considering how anti-American conservatives bully anyone who applies common sense and intelligence to politics.
What is surprising is the depth of stupidity exposed by those who think she is a hero. Our country was founded, in large part, to escape a government that imposed a single religion on its people. Thomas Paine, in arguing why the American colonies should form a government elected by its people, said this about religion:
For myself, I fully and conscientiously believe that it is the will of the Almighty that there should be a diversity of religious opinions among us. It affords a larger field for our Christian kindness; were we all of one way of thinking, our religious dispositions would want matter for probation…
Thomas Paine, Common Sense
Anyone with knowledge of our country history and Constitution knows that our government was established with the understanding that no one religion, nor set of religious practices should be imposed by our government. The very definition of who we are as Americans is defined by freedom FROM religion, not servants to a religion. Kim Davis’s claim that she, as County Clerk is allowed to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples because her PERSONAL religious beliefs has no merit in the United States of America. Her actions are a disgrace to our country and Constitution.
That is why anti-Americans celebrate her and her actions. Those who seek to end our nation that is by the people, for the people, and of the people, want to destroy the foundation of our country. On June 28th, the Supreme Court reached the obvious conclusion that gay/lesbian marriage was protected by our Constitution, that was the end of the debate. Religions can’t impose their beliefs on anyone else. End of story.
The fact that it is over two months later and Rowan County, Kentucky is just now abiding by our Constitution and the law is a testament to the power of stupid people.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate stupid people. They are entertaining and YouTube couldn’t exist without them. But when stupid people interfere with the legal right of the pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness of intelligent people we face a threat to who we are as citizens of the United States of America.
Kentucky should have never let Kim Davis become the hero for anti-Americans.
It would have been easy to make fun of Mrs. Wick, but my mother would not allow us to do that, and in fact, we were taught to offer to help her whenever she needed it.
It would have been easy to disrespect Mr. Valdez in our small, almost-all-white town because he was Hispanic, but I would have never thought to do that, and his son was one of my best friends in elementary school.
Basic respect for the people in our town was how I was raised. It wasn’t being ‘politically correct,’ because it was part of being a decent person. Sure there were times when people failed to be decent, but the rodeo was only in town once a year and city people who pretend to be cowboys are idiots.
Today, our neighborhood is much larger. A Facebook post reaches around the world. Our community is no longer bound by city limits, county or state lines, nor national boundaries. What we say and do is part of a recorded history that will exist for hundreds, or possibly thousands of years.
It is not easy to be respectful of other people, but it is required. There should never be a question of whether or not to fly a confederate flag. It is always wrong to wave a symbol of traitors and racists in the face of our brothers and sisters around the world.
It is never appropriate to malign a group of honorable people who often risk their lives to have a better life in the United States by characterizing them as drug dealers and rapists. We have a responsibility to speak and act with respect to others. It is not a matter of being ‘political correct,’ it is a matter of personal honor and decency. That value has been the foundation of the strength of our country. It is why, when America faces a real threat, we drop everything and respond as one.
It is why Hitler failed, and Putin hates us. The test of a true American is the ability to respect others who are different in race, gender, religion, who they love, and where they are from.
Historically, marriage was created to establish a legal bond or contract of property ownership. Sometimes the property was just the woman, but typically marriage included the transfer of land, animals, money, or other material items. A woman was not a party in the contract, but the subject of the contract, meaning she was irrelevant in taking part of the terms of the contract. The woman’s opinion or love was not needed, nor wanted in most marriages.
As a society we have moved away from the marriage-as-a-contract concept; however, even today we still have men and women in the United States who cling to the misogynistic idea that a woman is property to serve and bear a man children. These men and their Stepford spouses cite the historical aspect of marriage as the justification for demeaning a human being (or allowing themselves to be demeaned.)
Gay marriage has only one purpose, the expression of love between two people. There is no property exchange and no issue of who is the master and who is subservient, (unless both parties agree to a 50 Shades of Gay-type relationship.) You can’t attach outdated expectations of a gender-based owner/property understanding to a marriage between two people who are of the same gender.
Perhaps now heterosexuals shed the mantle of the woman as property and confirm marriage a legitimate expression of love.
Incentive programs are the tip of the sword in organizational suicide. They are often designed by people who believe that there is a single cause leading to a positive effect in achievement. The reality is that life isn’t that simple. Here are three examples of incentive program fails:
EXAMPLE 1 – Retaining Major Customers
ISSUE: A business owner loses a major customer and believes that it was because his employees weren’t responsive enough to the major customer’s needs.
INCENTIVE: The owner creates and incentive program that rewards employees for being more attentive to major customers. (Potential measures: Major customer satisfaction surveys, increase in revenue from major customers, response time data.)
EFFECT: Some employees learn how to gain the favor of the major customer through unethical tactics: i.e. kickbacks, access to inside information about the major customer’s competition, sacrificing minor customers in order to be more attentive to major customers, giving more product or service to the major customers and charging it to minor customers, etc.
RESULT: The owner finds out that some unethical employees look like superstars to the major customers, while ethical employees seem to be failures. Minor customers, a primary source of new revenue, leave for competitors leaving the company with a few major customers that demand special treatment.
EXAMPLE 2 – Improving Student Performance
ISSUE: Recognizing and reinforcing good student behavior and educational achievement.
INCENTIVE: Teachers are given special reward tokens to give to students who display good behavior, or who perform exceptionally on class or homework assignments. Students with the most tokens are given a special reward at the end of the school year.
EFFECT: Some teachers give out tokens liberally and gain favor with the students. Some teachers attempt to ethically administer the program, but find that they are not consistent in giving out tokens to the students for similar positive events. Some teachers do not buy into the incentive program and rarely give out tokens.
RESULT: High performing students discover that their behavior and achievements is subject to different evaluators who create an reward system that is not objective. Students who are recognized feel superior to other students, and other high performing students become angry, frustrated, and discouraged.
EXAMPLE 3 – Improving Productivity
ISSUE: Motivate management to improve to eliminate wasted time and resources.
INCENTIVE: Financial bonuses for top managers who have higher output per employee and/or expenses, OR have lower cost per dollar of revenue.
EFFECT: Managers discover that by making salaried employees work longer hours and not replacing old equipment as needed, they can look more productive. Employees may not like working with broken or outdated equipment, or be required to work longer hours, but that is not what is measured, so it is irrelevant to the manager.
RESULT: Other indicators (high turnover, loss of customers, etc.) might indicate a failure of the manager in performing his or her duty; however, because the incentive is to improve productivity, those factors are ignored. The manager looks like a superstar and yet the division or department has severe morale issues and is a business failure.
Why Incentive Programs Fail
Despite the popular idea that incentive programs are a good motivational tool, there are four reasons why they are not.
Organizational success is not a science, but an art
Incentive plans are based on the old idea that the ends justify the means. True organizational success is all about the ‘means’ and the success comes only after multiple factors combine. Organizational success often can’t be repeated because it was contingent on the talents of key team members who brought key talents or skills into the formula of success.
Cause and effect are rarely in a one-to-one relationship
Whatever is defined as the positive outcome, people will find multiple ways to achieve the desired goal, regardless of ethics.
People are not ethical by nature
Incentive programs encourage unethical behavior. The goal is assumed to be the highest priority and that is tacit approval to some that anything goes as long as the goal is met or exceeded.
Some organizations intend the incentive program to encourage unethical behavior
Executives cannot tell their employees to be unethical, but they can create the environment that fosters unethical behavior in pursuit of the indicators of success. This protects the company and puts all the risk on the employees.
Incentive = Manipulation
People who design incentive programs explain that the intent is to reward good behavior, and they fail to complete the sentence, “through manipulation.” Manipulation requires a lack of respect. Most people want to do the right thing and don’t need to be tricked into doing it. It is possible that unethical behavior is stimulated by incentive programs because the person feels disrespected by the use of manipulation and responds by obtaining the reward while sabotaging the program.
The Need For An Incentive Program?
Organizations that need an incentive program indicate a failure in leadership. Any business or school should know who its best performers without an artificial measurement program in place to identify them. In addition, any organization should have an ongoing effort to recognize and reward the best performers. Leadership that is effective in celebrating success will be setting the example for others without manipulation through an artificial program that disrespects people and will likely be vulnerable to unfair evaluation and unethical behavior.