Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rachel Canning and Her Happy Family

The Lovely Rachel Canning

Rachel Canning, the eighteen-year-old who sued her parents in order to force them to pay her living expenses, parochial high school tuition, and university expenses, has moved back into her parents' home and has dropped the law suit.

An emergency hearing was held in March (prior to the April 22 trial date) to hear Rachel's attorney's request that Rachel be provided  financial support in the interim. The judge denied Rachel's request.Ugly voice mails were played on both sides, but a particularly unflattering message Rachel left for her mother (sufficiently graphically disgusting that I don't wish to detail it here) apparently upset the judge.

I don't know Rachel Canning, but I'm reasonably certain I would not like her if I did know her. I believe I've mentioned that before.  She found herself in numerous disciplinary situations in her final year of high school -- enough that I wonder why the private school she attended would even choose to keep her in attendance at their school, much less to waive her tuition until the case was settled.  If I had to hazard a guess -- which I do not, but will anyway -- I'd venture that Mr. John Inglesino, Rachel's best friend's father, wielded influence with the school's governing board.

I've been to high school, as have most of my readers. One thing I can share about high school  is that it isn't terribly difficult to fly under the radar in most high school settings.  In my experience, a person who gets into very much trouble at high school isn't very bright. It's simply not that hard to have a bit of fun without being busted. If a person's issue, on the other hand, is that he or she has issues with authority, staying out of trouble is a little harder. Rachel Canning may have been one of such people who couldn't be bother even with pretending to give authority figures their due respect.

Rachel Canning's parents probably weren't blameless in this situation, as they must have done something to help to create the monster who sued them. I wouldn't find it hard to believe that they might have defended  Rachel against teachers and others who complained of Rachel's behavior until relatively late in the third quarter of the game. Still, I felt compassion for them. Their daughter didn't wish to live under their rules and chose to leave their home two days before her eighteenth birthday. they didn't toss her out of their home. I don't understand why the case even made it as far as it did.

My parents and I had our share of conflict in my teen years. I don't know of anyone who has ever made it through the parent/child  battlefield of adolescence unscathed.  Through all of the conflict, however, for me there was an unspoken understanding, even maybe the last year or so before turned eighteen, that I was not a prisoner in my parents' home and was free to leave, but I would be on my own if that was the option I chose. It's been that way forever in most families.

Rachel Canning didn't like conditions that her parents established. She chose to leave instead of continuing to live under what she seemed to consider a totalitarian regime. Such was a moral right she had at the time, and a legal right within two days of the time she left. Rachel invoked the privileges of adulthood. Rachel, however, desired to enjoy  the entitlements of being a minor at the same time she exercised her prerogatives as an adult. Rarely does it work that way, and it didn't, at least in the interim, Rachel's case.

Whatever or whoever possessed Rachel Canning that made her think she could have the freedoms of adulthood on Mom's and dad's dollar did her a grave disservice.  It's good that she finally called a halt to the whole thing.

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