|An offer I couldn't refuse!...|
For years I was adamant; my daughter was not going to get a cell phone until she was in high school (in two years), period! No questions! No exceptions!
In other words, my heart was hardened, like pharaoh in the Old Testament when the plagues kept afflicting Egypt but noooo way was he about to give in to Moses; that snot nose, who was like a brother to him growing up but then betrayed him by becoming the leader of the Israelites! (It helped that my wife was on the same page!)
However, a funny thing happened at the beginning of the year. First of all, my daughter earned first honors again last semester, for the third time in last two years (the first time, I took her to the One Direction concert!) and her 13th birthday was fast approaching.
Furthermore, all her friends have cell phones and the few, whose parents were also holding out, got them for Christmas, making her the only one in her group not to have one (some got them as early as two years ago!).
Therefore, not only is she more physically developed than most of her friends, making her very self-conscience and insecure, but to top it off, she was also the nerd without a cell phone; i.e. the Rudolph in her friend's reindeer games. (Man, it must suck to be a teenage girl!)
Not that I was very aware of this psychological warfare she's been going through until a recent night when my wife came up and sat next to me on the couch with a glass of wine in her hand (in other words, let's talk) and said, "I think we should get Manu a cell phone for her birthday."
Say what? The pharaoh in me reacted, "No way! Absolutely not." I didn't care how many locust flew in our house, she was not getting a cell phone!
She shot back, "Carlos, she's a good girl. She just got first honors again. She's turning thirteen and she's the only one of her friends not to have a cell phone. She's embarrassed every time she has to borrow a friend's phone to call me to pick her up from basketball or softball. You don't understand because you don't get the call and you don't know what it's like to be a teenage girl!" (I could have sworn I heard Tom Petty singing in the background, "She's a good girl, loves her mama, loves Jesus and America too...") Was this a conspiracy?
|Say what? No way buddy!...|
Instead, I said, "Cell phones are dangerous. Kids today have no social skills because they communicate via text instead of talking. Not to mention, they get exposed to all sorts of dangerous images and things!" (I work in TV news and am horrified even by the thought of "sexting" or the temptation of it for my daughter!)
She answered, "Carlos, she has an IPad for school! She could be exposed to the same dangers." Ok., so I didn't think about that. She continued, "Anyway, I already monitor all her text conversations when she uses my phone and, to be honest, they're pretty silly and innocent. In fact, the photos that her friends posted that I objected to, gave me an opportunity to tell her why and that they will be on the internet forever. She gets it."
"No!" I said, "We agreed she wasn't getting a phone until high school!" I was putting my foot down. That was it. I had about enough of the conversation. In fact, I could have broken into The Police song right there, "Doo Doo Doo, Da Da Da. That's all I want to say to you." Again, not even frogs, or gnats, or blood coming from the sink was going to change my mind! End of discussion; my word is final! (Ok., maybe blood from the sink would have freaked me out but...)
She got up and left in disgust.
I sat there smoldering, "Oh, no you di'int just come to me with that idea! I'll tell you what you can do with your idea (I think I was rotating my head). Get my daughter a cell phone... Are you kidding me? We agreed! Not until high school! She's just a little girl and so what if her friends have phones! They're dangerous." (This was all in my head, mind you.) I was working myself up pretty good. Although, part of it, I know, was my ego and pride talking.
Then, I started thinking, "She really is a good girl and, at some point, I'm going to have to start trusting the way we're raising her (But, does it have to start now?). Then again, good girls can be corrupted. I should know. I did my fair share of corrupting when I was a teen! As the saying goes, 'Payback is a female dog!' (more or less) But, where is God in all this? Do I trust that God will protect her?" I was pulling myself in every direction internally.
I paused and prayed for guidance and, in the process, softened my recalcitrant heart.
After a while, I got up and walked to the bedroom where my wife had gone and, with my tail between my legs, said, "Ok., we'll get her a cell phone... but it has to be the older IPhone that only costs a penny!" (If I was going to give in, might as well be practical, right?) She agreed with a broad smile on her face.
So, a week later, days before her thirteenth birthday, we got her the phone and I honestly think it was one of the happiest days of her life!
In the years to come, I know raising a teenage girl will bring many more pressing decisions and issues to deal with (and to think, I have another one close behind!), but, for now, this was a big one.
Let's just hope I don't change my mind and have to chase her across the Red Sea any time soon. It didn't work out too well for pharaoh!...