I read about families in Israel that settle the West Bank. I am a Jewish person who is horrified by the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel, but I don’t have any good solution, so I’m reticent to pass judgment. Mostly, I just try to do good when I have the opportunity.
I read that Israeli children in the West Bank are so scared from constant war with Palestinians that they sleep with their parents every night.
I think so much about that image. About that life. I think I over identify with traumatized kids because of my own childhood. So I obsess.
California’s governor passed a law that allows children to choose the gender they identify with rather than being assigned. The point of the law is to support transgendered children. The medical community is already supporting these kids and now California schools are too.
The result of the law is, first of all that kids can choose which team they are on, which bathroom they go into, etc. The other result is that school is a battle ground. With hard-core conservatives saying that supporting transgendered kids is against God’s law. Or something like that.
I imagined the scenes in my head, and they reminded me of when I got an abortion in California and I had to walk through protestors to get to the doctor’s office. I was already traumatized that I was having an abortion, and the fact that I was in the middle of a political battleground made it much much more difficult.
But I was an adult. And I can take care of myself.
Kids are different. They go to school, and it’s a battleground, and there are no parents there.
My oldest friend, Sharon, grew up in Israel. She was telling me about going back to visit her parents with her kids.
“There’s an extra room and the bomb shelter, so we can all stay with my parents.”
“A bomb shelter?”
“Yeah. Every house in Israel has a bomb shelter?”
“What??? That’s amazing! Do you have drills, like we have tornado drills?”
“Yeah. But even when it’s not a drill, my mom and dad don’t go into the shelter. The West Bank is about three miles from their house and they don’t think grenades can reach them.”
I can imagine Sharon’s family sitting together, eating dinner while there’s a bomb siren sounding.
We can acclimate to anything. In Israel they acclimate to a constant state of war. In US schools we acclimate to that as well. It’s a curriculum battleground, it’s a gender battleground, it’s an economic battleground, it’s a religious background (Did you know that 13% of teachers are teaching that evolution did not happen?)
In Israel, though, the battleground happens largely at home. At night. When it’s dark. And the kids are with their parents. In the US, our kids are alone, fending for themselves, and I think we underestimate how traumatic that is.
In the US the war is during the day, at school, and kids are in the middle, without the protection of their parents.
I know: A cultural war is not the same as a physical war. And that’s true. But the idea that we send our kids into a public school every day that is a political and cultural battleground makes no sense to me. Just as Sharon’s family doesn’t feel like they are in a war, families that send kids do school do not feel like they are doing anything controversial.
We acclimate to whatever we have to, but in the context of that adaptability it’s important to know what we have to do and what we choose to do. Making choices is what makes us human. Owning those choices is taking ownership of ourselves. And sending kids to school is a choice. There’s no need to adapt to the battleground conditions.