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May 16, 2011

The Cellular Demur - Part III

Blocking incoming phone calls and blocking texts are two different entries with my phone provider I have recently discovered. As an afterthought, this makes sense to be me to have a more granular control over the services. However, when the barrage of texts hit my daughter's phone from the angry mother character of this "reality blog" series, I discovered that I had not properly requested the restriction. This has since been remedied, and I have been pleasantly informed I can manage blocking from my online account settings.
Technological-win aside, the person involved has clearly chosen the method of bullying and harassment rather than appealing to the civil court process. As frustrating as having to endure her hate-filled words is, this is an important coming-of-age lesson for Rachel. We don't throw the word "racism" lightly around my house, but when this woman's text compared our "running from responsibility" to behavior expected from only a particular ethnicity, that word became an acceptable label to use in this situation.
Moreover, Rachel is being baptized by fire in the lessons that some people really are not interested in resolving their problems, that ignorant and angry mishandling of an issue will worsen it, and that bullies are not limited to school yards and locker rooms. It is an unfortunate truth that there are resentful, ungrateful people walking among us. Rachel is beginning to understand why character and ethics really matter, as well as why choosing friends wisely and excluding trouble-makers from association is not merely a parental rant. (In fairness, the child-friend is as much a victim here, but outside the scope of our capacity to help.)
My preteen's grasp on authority figures, their role and their responsibility has been given a fresh understanding. Further, her mindfulness of how to respond properly to their solecistic behavior has been made anew as well. Rachel became frustrated between knowing she should give proper respect to an adult and tolerating a belligerent berating. She became greatly relieved when I told my daughter that after listening patiently it was okay to hang-up on this woman once she spoke hatefully or used profanity as a direct insult.
Gossip is another hard lesson. It has occurred at a minimum at her school, and I've encouraged Rachel to discuss the issue with no one, not even close and trusted peers. She can, of course, talk about it with family members, but I don't want her to exacerbate the case by drawing attention to it among those who have personal interaction with the girl or her mother. And I understand her temptation to vent and acknowledge the possible irony of my request while I write this blog.
There are lessons learned and many still in learning. Yet, sadly this circumstance is not over, I fear. I will probably have to write one more letter, a short and simple cease-harassment demand. I may have one of my attorney friend's draft it on official letterhead. But I need to make it clear that without a court summons I am no longer willing to discuss or consider this matter; to me it is closed. I hope further legal restraints are not required.
As an aside, I'd like to say this is difficult for me to take such a strong stance on such a simple issue. This is in part because I see this only as a misunderstanding which logically should be easy to resolve between reasonable parties. Also, I force myself to consider the Scriptural charge to avoid lawsuits and "give my cloak too" when the response "just sue me" becomes my mood. But these spiritual concepts referenced are not preclusions of the legal process, but rather about character, attitude and conflicts within the church itself. After careful thought, I have concluded my legal stance is aligned with my faith.
Finally, I note there will be little occasion for our paths to cross for an incident to occur, save one very important event. Next week is the 6th-grade graduation ceremony. Should the "angry mother" whisper and point, tell her friends her side, but remain distant and congenial, this would be completely copacetic. However, after her technological aggression, the odds of a confrontation seem high. I hate to involve the school in a private matter, but I may have to warn the principal of the potential issue.
I admit my own uncertainty of how best to proceed. As part of this forum, I welcome an open discussion and suggestions; however, if you do have comments to contribute, please keep them constructive. Comments on her character or speaking poorly of her actions are not welcome. While I disagree with what she has done, I won't participate in or permit defaming conduct. Thanks in advance for you cooperation and ideas.

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