Tuesday, December 20, 2011

You have a right to do your job, but I have a right to my rights

Alrighty... I have mixed feelings about writing this blog. I am in no way trying to bag on these people, or say they don't have a right to do their jobs (especially in this economy!), but the more I study and strengthen my own convictions about personal liberties, the more I expect mine to be respected.

It wasn't until maybe a year or two ago that I began to really understand my rights, and then be able to recognize when they were being treaded upon. A few friends with strong, similar political convictions to my own began to indirectly encourage me to go back and review all I learned (and apparently didn't retain) about the Constitution in Mrs. Stanley's 7th grade history class. As I began to understand and identify my personal, Constitutional rights, it became less and less okay for others to walk all over me, or manipulate me into things I felt that I had to do. Because the truth is, unless I am directly breaking a law, I have a right to my rights.

Not following? Here is what went down this week, thus prompting this entry.

First, I got a phone call from my kids' school telling me that, for the third year in a row, my son had failed his hearing test. As its been explained to me multiple times, the only thing he really failed on is low-decible, high frequency noises. He can hear everything else just fine; voices of all tones, music, horns, sirens, smoke alarms, security alarms...all the important things.

The first year, I was advised to take him to our family doctor for an evaluation. She checked his ears and told me there was absolutely nothing, as far as she could tell, wrong with his ears. I took the paperwork to the school, and they dropped it. Well, until the following year.

Last year, he failed again. And they called me again. And I explained that I had taken him to the doctor the previous year and he checked out fine. I was advised then to take him to an audiologist. I already knew that our insurance didn't cover "specialists," but nevertheless called the insurance company, then some audiologist offices, and all told me I'd have to pay completely out-of-pocket. Which I neither wanted, or had the money, to do. I relayed this information to the school, and they reluctantly left me alone.

At a conference with his teacher a few weeks later, I asked if he seemed to have a hard time hearing. She said not at all. And my husband and I have noticed no problems at home either, except for the selective hearing that comes with being a male. So then, what's the problem? If its not inhibiting him in any way, then what does it matter?

So when this year's testing came around, I was prepared for him to fail yet again. And I braced myself to have to go around and around with the school again. And I had to. Yet again I had to explain that he'd already seen our doctor and checked out fine, we couldn't afford an audiologist, and most importantly, neither his teacher nor my husband and I thought it was inhibing him in any way so we didn't think it was worth addressing. I was again told I had to take him to an audiologist, even if it meant them trying to find funding for me. I don't like it, but okay, if they want it to be on their dime, fine, okay, I'll take him.

But that's the problem. I don't have to do anything. If I actually thought something was hurting my son in any way, I would find a way to cover the expense. When he's miserably sick, I take him to the doctor. When he fell on his shoulder and was in a lot of pain, I took him to the ER (which wasn't covered by our insurance because we were out of state), and it turned out he'd fractured his collar bone. If something is genuinely wrong with my child, then I seek out help. But in this case, I don't think its necessary. He's not suffering in any way, so I don't think I should have to take him, or harrassed until I give in and do. The bottom line is, he is my child, I know him better than anyone, and I know what's best for him more than anyone. I am his parent, and until he's 18, he is in my care, and I call the shots. Which includes being able to refuse treatment. I could have chosen not to circumcize him. I could have chosen not to vaccinate him. It is my right to choose how to parent, and what I deem is best for him. And in this case, I believe what is best is to leave well enough alone. He's in no danger, or inhibited in any way (I mean, big whoopty doo if he can't hear really high-pitched, quiet noises. Personally, I think that's kind of a blessing.)

However, I having this philosophy, just like so many other parents, I run the risk of being labeled - by society, if nothing else - a negligent parent. But I assure you I'm not. And I assure you there are people that, based on reading this, will think I'm making the wrong decision. That's fine. You parent yours, I'll parent mine, and let's leave it at that. I just hate that fear tactics and bullying push a lot of parents into sacrificing their own convictions. It makes far too many parents afraid to stand up for what they feel is right.

The second incident happened the other night. Unfortunately, due to switching our land line to Ooma, we don't currently have Caller ID. Ugh. So we get a whole lot of survey calls and whatnot. Its very annoying.

So a few nights ago, the phone rang. I answered, the person on the other end asked for me, I said, "This is she," and the person jumped right in to asking me survey questions. She didn't ask me if I was interested in taking the survery first, which I found odd and rude, and began asking for my age. The rest of the conversation more-or-less went like this:

"What age category do you fall into?" (Followed by a list of options.)

"Um, what exactly is this pertaining to?"

"We just want to know your opinions to better serve your community."

"Okay, that was vague. Like what kind of questions?"

"Just how you feel about the direction our country is going in, if you think its getting better or worse, stuff like that. So what age category do you fall under..."

"I don't want to share that information. That is my private business."

"Well, ma'am, we just want to know your opinions so we can better serve your community."

"I understand that, but I have a right to my privacy. I am heavily involved in my community, and if there is an issue I feel passionate about, then I get involved and do share my opinions with those I feel comfortable sharing them with. However, I don't like sharing that with strangers taking surveys."

"I understand that, but this information is to be used to better serve your community."

"I'm sorry. I don't want to be rude, and I don't want to hang up on you because I don't think that's very nice, but I am really not interested in divulging my personal thoughts."

"I understand, ma'am, but this is only going to take 5 minutes."

"I understand that, but I really feel like you aren't hearing me. I don't want to take the survey, and really don't appreciate you pushing the issue. And like I said, I am not the type who likes to hang up on people, but I will if you persist with this any further."

(Completely exasperated) "Well, ma'am, I'm only doing my job."

"I understand that, but I really don't think you're hearing or respecting me."

"Fine. Have a nice day, ma'am." (And she hung up.)

How many times, and in how many ways, do I have to say "It's none of your beeswax?" My word! I have a right to say no, I have a right to my private thoughts and business, and I have a right not to share them! I used to be the type of person who would back down and give in, but not anymore. I shouldn't be bullied into giving up my private information, and nobody has the right to try!

I definitely appreciate how hard people work, and their dedication to their jobs. I think that's quite admirable. But "no" means "drop it!" The title of this blog pretty much sums it up: You have a right to do your job, but I have a right to my rights. And if I exercise them, then you need to respect that.

I am an American, a mother, and an intelligent human being, and I deserve to be treated as such.

What about you? How do you handle it when people try and tread on your rights? Have you ever felt like someone was pushing you too hard to sacrifice your own rights and principles?