Sunday, January 29, 2006

Children will say the darndest things...

I, along with my family, spent this past Shabbat at some family friends in Beit Shemesh. Among the many children who were running around the house, there was one, a boy of around 3-4 years old, who kept repeating that he wanted to be a chayal (Israeli soldier).

Finally, one of us got around to asking him what type of chayal he wanted to be exactly - perhaps a paratrooper? An elite forces soldier?

The boy responded: I want to be a chayal who is m'sareiv p'kuda (a soldier who refuses orders).

This caused everyone at the table to let out a good laugh, but the more I thought about it, the more my feelings became conflicted.

On the one hand, it is sad that a Jewish boy, growing up in the Jewish State, needs to now associate serving in the IDF with refusing orders. On the other hand, he clearly is still motivated to serve in the IDF (as motivated as one can be at the age of 3-4).

I would imagine that both of these messages - of the importance to serve in the army, and of the importance of not blindly accepting orders have been ingrained in the home (although I could be wrong), and I just wonder at what age we should be teaching our children these lessons and values?

I'm relatively new to the parenting business myself, but isn't there a time to just enjoy being a kid and growing up? Or maybe that's just it - that education - particularly Jewish education begins at day 1...

Either way, being a parent is a big responsibility, and I can only hope that I am blessed with the insight and wisdom on how best to raise my family and how and when to best impart all of the values and messages that are so central to being a Jew.

G-d help me... and all of the Jewish People.



14 Comments:

too bad he can't vote yet-a National union vote for sure.
YOU ARE RIGHT LET KIDS BE KIDS.hOWEVER THEY DO OVERHEAR.

By Anonymous daat y, at Sun Jan 29, 07:43:00 PM GMT+2  

True. (i know i am repeating myself from my post at the Muqata a few weeks back) but think of our ancestors? i can only imagine my great-great grandfather worried sick that my 4 year old great-grandfather would grow up and serve in the army of the czar... i can only imagine he taught his children the concept of "order refusal" as well.

so maybe refusing immoral military orders is a wonderful Jewish tradition that makes us different.

By Blogger Tovya @ Zion Report, at Sun Jan 29, 08:58:00 PM GMT+2  

Yeah...being the head of a Jewish family is a huge responsibility. I expect that we'll have a child in a couple of years or so. For now I have no idea what I'll teach him/her and how I'll define and explain the political side of things here.

I hope to get some help from my wife Miri in the aformentioned fields. I hope she understands my motives when I bring up my son/daughter with an ardent love of Israel and everything Jewish. I hope to insitill Revisionist Zionist and religious values in my kids and have them grow up in Israel and serve in the IDF as in an elite army unit.

About the boy's comments on wanting to be a chayal who would misarev pekuda, I'm willing to bet that's his parents' influence and as much as I understand their bitterness and pain, I condemn the fact that they're exposing their kids to these kind of hardships so early on in his life.

Be'tikva, Eitan.

By Blogger Greg, at Sun Jan 29, 10:56:00 PM GMT+2  

Daat - maybe I can sign him up now, for when he can vote in the future - if he is ready to talk about serving i nthe army, then he is ready to start talking politics...

Zion - I agree - but the question is at what age?

Eitan - Hope things are going better for you in TA - having a family is a huge responsibility, but a lot of good things come along with it - and you really have the chance ot change the future of the Jewish People if you do a good job...

By Blogger Ze'ev, at Sun Jan 29, 11:34:00 PM GMT+2  

i just hope the rift within israeli society doesnt grow to the point where we could not reconcile. that would be tragic.

By Blogger Pinchas Floyd, at Mon Jan 30, 03:22:00 AM GMT+2  

No parent "teaches" a kid, especially at that age to mesarev pkuda. What he expressed was a combination of overhearing discussions in the house, and his own perceptions.

What did this kid see on TV or in newspaper photographs from this summer? Soldiers taking crying people (who look like his mom and dad) out of their houses. For better or worse, the soldiers this summer were the bad guys, and he naturally doesn't want to be the bad guy.

I have a neighbor who said that her three year old was terrified of soldiers after August, and would yell at the tv screen, "bad chayal, asur l'harbitz yehudim". This neighbor was very careful not to discuss things in front of her kids, and did not participate in any of the protests before the disengagement plan. Her kids impressions were from the pictures he saw.

By Blogger westbankmama, at Mon Jan 30, 11:32:00 AM GMT+2  

Still I tend to think the soldiers/police did a very good job(though it was a job they should have thought over and eventually quit on as any good Jew would)witholding their grievances with "settlers" who didn't quite go peacefully. There have been documented instances of settlers spilling acid liquids on soldiers and police as well as cases of settlers physically attacking police.

The "pictures we saw"-though once again, they came via the left wing press showed settlers and soldiers hugging and crying together, both feeling the painful extent of the situation unfolding.

As for the neighbor, I'm sure her kid was, in one way or another, influenced by her parents. I, too, was influenced by my dad, him being a political refugee in the Evil Empire, to become an ardent Zionist and eventually make aliya.

Be'tikva, Eitan.

By Blogger Greg, at Mon Jan 30, 11:50:00 AM GMT+2  

This poor child is clearly a result of the ideological influence of his parents. All parents are responsible for the views they exhibit in front of their children and it is clear that this family has trained their child in treachery, betrayal and revolution to work against the interests of the Jewish State.

Of course this is the right of the parents, as long as they do not break the law.

I believe that as a co-ordinated response to instances such as this, the state needs to try and go back to collective education and reinforce a sense of common peoplehood. I would suggest this could be achieved by creating one education system - closing down the terrorist factories which are the high-school yeshivas of the religious fanatics. Instead of having a State System, a State-Religious System and a non-state religious system funded by the state, as well as an arab system, we could have just one system. In this way, the state could at least act as an alternative calming force to the extremist message received at home. Of course the religious extremist fanatics could still choose to keep their kids out of the state education system and found their own schools, but it should not be at the taxpayer's expense.

H

By Anonymous H, at Mon Jan 30, 12:46:00 PM GMT+2  

Amen to H's suggestions.

And that is one scary story. As is WestBankMama's. Indeed, Ze'ev, we need all the help we can get...

By Anonymous PP, at Mon Jan 30, 01:05:00 PM GMT+2  

Hey - good luck for getting a realistic place on the list. Good to see some fluent English speakers trying their hand.

As for army refusal, I believe we should leave it to you (G-d willing) and other MKs to make the political decisions and mistakes. if we encourage dati or right-wing soldiers to refuse, then there will be no means of criticizing left-wing people who refuse on their own moral grounds.

Refusal should be left to the ballot box. The IDF has enough work to do... seriously!

Michael
www.kicisrael.blogspot.com

By Blogger Michael Lawrence, at Mon Jan 30, 02:18:00 PM GMT+2  

Refusal has grave consequences.

By Blogger Jack's Shack, at Mon Jan 30, 06:27:00 PM GMT+2  

My second son is currently serving in an "elite" unit after his brother served in both Sedir & Kevah. Not a week goes by that he hasn't been "tested" by potentionally "difficult" situations where he might have to choose between his conscience and his military alliegence.

The best part was how he manages to stay positive despite the looming conflict. Last Eruv Shabbat he mentioned in his pre-Shabbat call: "Baruch HaShem, another week of service in the defence of Am Yisrael".

He was not sarcastic. He actually looks at each week as an opportunity to contribute toward the defense of the Jewish People of Israel. And every week he succeeded in avoiding being thrown out of the IDF because they demand of him something against his conscience, is another week he has "earned".

By Blogger Yoel.Ben-Avraham, at Mon Jan 30, 07:57:00 PM GMT+2  

while it is a very difficult responsibility to raise children, we're lucky to have that responsibility.
westbankmama says that this child may have formed his words based on overheard conversations, TV, and other media that he may have been exposed to. i agree that this may very well be the case. i wonder if rather than worry about what to teach our children, maybe we should focus on what not to expose them to at such young ages.

By Blogger bec, at Tue Jan 31, 05:23:00 AM GMT+2  

great kid!

By Blogger muse, at Tue Jan 31, 09:35:00 PM GMT+2  

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