My WhatsApp-Insult Victory

My WhatsApp-Insult Victory
My neighbor has many young children and a demanding career. Our sons are best friends, and over recent weeks with the frequent school strikes I was happy to have her sons over for much of the day. I’m home anyway and at this stage of my life I’m dealing with far less of the little-kid stress that she deals with day in day out.
So I was taken aback when I received an angry voice message from her earlier today, “I would like to request that my children not use any screens at your home without my explicit permission!”
After a bit of back and forth I discovered that she allows her kids only an hour of computer time a week. When I told her that my kids are allowed 2 hours of computer time a day she responded, “You must mean 2 hours a month?”
I felt various feelings bubbling up in me. And various responses of the defensive, passive-aggressive, or just plain-out aggressive variety.
But then I did something else. Instead of continuing to focus on how I felt (hurt, unappreciated, patronized) I thought of how she feels (overwhelmed, insecure, losing her ongoing battle to protect and educate her children the way she thinks best.)
So instead of responding how I’d wanted to respond, instead I wrote:
“!אתם רציניים! כל הכבוד”
Roughly translated: “I’m impressed! You are AMAZING!”
My neighbor’s tone immediately softened, “It’s hard. We have to supervise them all the time. It takes tons of energy.”
I sympathized and assured her that her kids won’t be allowed to have screen time at my home without her permission
And I was proud of myself. That at the ripe age of 50 I’m finally getting a bit wiser. Growing up.

10 comments

  1. WOW! *I* am impressed! *YOU* are amazing! That takes real inner strength and a powerful sense of empathy and understanding. I hope one day that I will be able to respond just as graciously in trying circumstances.

  2. This is truly a victory!
    Kol hakavod to you!

  3. What a lesson you are teaching all of us, Chana Jenny!
    No- we DON’T have to give in to our emotional responses every time. We can train our da’as to take over and respond appropriately.
    Beautiful.
    Thank you for the chizuk.

  4. WOW, AWESOME, B’H!!!!

  5. ABSOLUTELY! thank you for this

  6. Repeating what everyone else said, but I am also so impressed! being able to see beyond the unfair attack, understand their response and then say something that will HELP THEM. I hope to get there one day

  7. is this woman paying you to watch her child? if not I think u are doing her a disservice in letting her think she is justified in her behaviour. she seems very entitled and I think u are encouraging her inappropriate behaviour. i think I would say i respect and admire your rules, unfortunately that is not where we are at the moment. and she can then decide what
    t to do .

    • to expand, i agree that u should answer her from a place of empathy and respect. with that, it is ur home. she is entitled to make her own rules for her own children, but that doesn’t mean that u should change to accommodate her. if u feel you can and choose to, that is fine, but i think she needs to be reminded in a very respectful way that she is not entitled to judge u or to expect u to change how u run ur home. i think it is important to respect ourselves too.

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