Internet blues and learning to say no


This is my neighbor’s daughter, Denisa.  She is a wonderful young lady.  Smart, sweet, helpful.  And persistent.


In the last few months, I have been helping Denisa learn more about the Internet.  In the fall, she was selected as a part of a small exchange program with a school in Slovenia for a project called the Sound of Wood.  A group of students from each school traveled to each others countries for 5 days to tour, learn about each others culture and work on the project together.  As a part of this, Denisa needed to open an email account and learn how to use it.

So she began coming a couple times a week to surf the internet for the class project, write on the project forum page, check her e-mail and learn about Facebook.  The do have computers at her school but no internet connection.  From the beginning, I had told Denisa that I would help her get started but that when the project was over she would need to learn to go to the internet cafe to use the internet (50 yards from our house).  This frightens her from some reason.  I have taken her one or two times and I know she has been with her brother once when I was not available to help her and she had to finish something for a project.   Over time, she was coming more and more often, and I had to set limits on when she could come.  One day, when I was out for errands, she rang the bell four times asking Linda, is Jenny home yet?  When I did arrive home, she was at my door before I even had my shoes off and put my purse down.   She often wants to come just as the boys are coming home from school.


This last week, I have finally had to put my foot down.  Since returning from Slovenia, I have helped her organize her photos (we loaned her a digital camera for her trip) onto her mp3 player and a CD.  I explained to Denisa, however, that the project is over, and she needs to learn to go to the internet cafe.  We have a Mac and one of my concerns is that she won’t be able to do it on her own on a PC… so I am pushing her out of the nest!  In addition, if you give them and inch, they will take a mile.  This could well be applied to all of Albanian culture.

I wish I had video.  When I told her no, she could no longer use the computer and internet here at my house, she turned into a child.

“Oh, Jenny, please.  Can I just check Facebook?  Only 5 minutes?  I will be quick.  Just a few minutes, please?”

This went on for several minutes.

I truly believe, very few people have ever told her no, and meant it. In Albanian culture, it is very common for a child to beg his mother for something, for her to say no, he cries, and she gives in.  Bona, Denisa’s mother, has commented more than once to her own children,  “Look, watch Austin and Tyler.  Jenny says no and they OBEY!”  Well…. not all the time but most and it took a lot of practice.  I wanted to give in to Denisa, but I know in my heart that she will learn more if she can learn the value of the word no and learn to stand on what she has learned and find her own way.  Pray with me that it will be so!


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