Goody Two Shoes On Battle/War Strategy When Raising Children
The title of this post is misleading. It’s not really war, with bombs crashing around my ears-not really. My children were raised in a ‘sort of like war’ situation. A war of nerves, a war of possible dangers, a war of questions: Is it safe? Shall I go? Will they shoot? What will I do? Am I a target? What should I do?
Why am I doing this to myself and to them, my most precious things in the world...my children?
As time goes on, more and more people are asking for advice on how to cope with increasing violence in the country and how to raise children in these circumstances.
I am becoming an old sage, having lived through several Intifadas/Gulf wars/Gaza incursions/missile attacks/local troubles, just to mention a few.
Throughout these times, I gave birth to 4 children, moved house 3 times, and raised the said children, with our youngest soon to turn 18 and finish school. In fact, the year the First Intifada started was the year I got married [not related!].
Our motto as a family has ALWAYS been to carry on as normal as much as possible.
To change our lives, we felt, would be giving into the manipulations put upon us by various governments and world sources [mainly news].
Saying this, we had to be vigilant, clear headed, on alert, not to be heroes, to be sensible at all times, obeying the rules-i.e. we sealed a room in the first Gulf war as instructed and always put our toddler in his protective tent when the siren went off.
This required great acting skills in front of our children. My belief is that children often mirror adult behaviour, so the calmer we are the calmer our children will also be.
With four boys, I had to take them outside everyday. War inside the house would ensue if they didn’t get to go outside to play, so I took my chance outside every time!
Outside we went, and I laughed and sang whilst ever scanning the terrain for potential troubles.
I visited Hebron whilst pregnant in the First Intifada, and shopped as usual in open markets during the Second. As a family we went in all areas and territories, day and night [night was usually weddings]. Often this required us to change our route home at the last minute.
It sounds very heroic but it is not. To give us [me really] peace of mind, we changed the glass on the car to shatter proof [First Intifada], as we had babies/toddlers strapped in their car seats, my husband upped his life insurance [I wanted more!], as he went to work marked by a sniper whilst climbing over rocks to teach at the Bible College [Second Intifada], we made a Will [first Gulf War], and now I drive slowly when approaching/going through checkpoints so as not to cause panic to those manning them.
There have been times when panic got the better of me. This was usually around the interests of the children-e.g. when the children's school was sealed off due to a bus which had exploded nearby and they were put in the school basement till the army could come and declare the area ‘clear.’ I abandoned the car by the plastic tapes and ran to the school, boots thudding, coat flapping, gasping and sweaty! In a moment of ‘what if’ I got a spare set of house keys cut and left them with the office manager at my husband's office so that if I ever didn’t make it the house could be opened up to let the children in.
Here are a few bits of advice...They worked for me anyways:
Throw caution to the wind, eating and drinking what you like, ignoring the consequences, and having the attitude that tomorrow is another day and if I made it thus far...who cares?!?!
Keep smiling, develop a weird sense of humour and appreciate the deep sense of faith that evolves from living here.
Learn to crack your neck [stress], pray like billio and trust God.
May we all stay on this side of tragedy.
Question: Why me? Answer: Why not?
Enjoy the pluses and downplay the minuses.