The S.T.U.C.K. Method

Five Simple Steps to Emotional Well-Being


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S.T.U.C.K. in the Torah (Shemot)

S.T.U.C.K. is not a chidush.

The ideas behind it can be found in psychology and in Eastern philosophy.

S.T.U.C.K. is just another way, (a useful, effective, and reliable way, albeit), to provide a person tools to cope with and move on from challenging life situations.

Apparently, it can also be found in the Bible.

I realized this for the first time when my 10-year-old son was giving a d’var Torah at our dinner table on Friday night.

In the portion, a new king rose over Egypt who got stuck on fear by the growth of Israel.

The Jews were becoming too numerous and too strong and Pharaoh enslaved them with crushing harshness.

(Pharaoh did not get know about S.T.U.C.K. apparently.)

Having failed to stop Jewish growth through backbreaking work and slavery, Pharaoh proposed a more blatant form of destruction.

To kill all Jewish male babies.

“Every son that will be born – into the River shall you throw him! And every daughter shall you keep alive!” (Exodus, 1:22).

(Boy, was Pharaoh stuck!!!)

In one midrash, (P’sekta Rabbatai, 40:3), Amram, then the father of Miriam and Aaron, said he didn’t want to have any more children because of the horrible decree, and therefore expelled his wife, Yocheved, from the house.

Because Amram was so well-respected among the Hebrews, the nation of Israel followed suit.

In fact, the Nation of Israel divided into two camps: Men and Women.

Now, little Miriam, wise beyond her years, is watching all of this and believes it is not right.

And my S.T.U.C.K. midrash would go something like this:

“But what should I do?”

“I’m afraid to open my mouth and tell my father my thoughts.”

“I’m just a little kid who doesn’t understand much about life.”

“I’m only 6 years old!”

“Maybe I should keep my mouth closed and not say a word.”

“I don’t deserve to have an opinion on this.”

But, Miriam recognized she was stuck on fear and reflected on her beliefs.

She recognized that she did have a right to think and form opinions.

She also acknowledged that when she witnesses wrongful actions, she should not remain quiet.

She considered that the worst thing that could happen by opening her mouth is that her father would get upset.

And the best thing that could happen is that she saves this nation.

So, she spoke up.

“Dad, can I speak to you about the Pharaoh’s recent decree?” she asked gently and respectfully.

“As far as I understand, the decree only regards the baby boys, and not baby girls.”

“If we stay separated into two camps,  our nation and future generations will be doomed!”

“Please, will you reconsider?”

Amram listened mindfully and accepted her words.

And the two camps came back together.

miriam-with-mosesAnd because of Miriam’s courage, her brother, Moses, was born and ultimately saves the Jewish People from slavery.

Miriam got stuck on fear.

But, it’s ok.

By processing through it, she recognized that even a little child can help bring Redemption.

And for that, she and the entire Jewish people, are grateful.

And I, to my son, who brought S.T.U.C.K. in the Torah to my attention.

Glossary:

chidush – a new concept.

d’var Torah – a talk relating to a section of the Torah

midrash – stories taught by rabbinic sages that provide intrinsic analysis to passages in the Torah,

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Stuck on a Double Whammy

Last week was winter vacation from school in Israel.

In the past few years, I filled each day of vacation with some sort of fun family-packed event for my kids such as hikes, museums, and festivals. And, as a member of the Israeli National Park system, I’ve been taking my kids to as many as those historical and archeological sites as possible.

And these vacation days are great times to do just that.

But this year, with the recent rise of terrorism and the near-death accident we were in a few weeks ago, I kind of wanted to keep a low profile for the week.

In fact, I didn’t really want to leave the house at all.

I kind of just wanted to sit home and work on writing my book, to be honest.

So, we didn’t go anywhere.

On the first day of vacation, my boys jumped out of bed at dawn (my teenage daughter sleeps in) and screamed, “No school! Yippee!”

They danced around the living room and did hula hoops in their pajamas.

(Makes me kind of wonder, “Is school really that bad?”)

Anyway, after a few more hurrahs and a quick breakfast, the kids asked, “So, what are we doing today?”

“Uh, nothing?” I responded.

“Why?” they quickly retorted.

“Well, because,” I stammered, “we have no plans for this vacation.”

“So, what are we supposed to do?”

Oy vey!

“I don’t know,” I grumbled.

“Find something to do. Play a game. Clean your room. Practice your guitar. Go for a walk.”

They all looked at me quizzically.

Apparently those were not good ideas.

And they had a better one.

Like wrestling on the floor.

Because what else do three young boys do with their free time?

And, in the meantime, I turned on the computer and started compiling the blog posts that would go under the chapter in my book named “Stuck on Desire”.

But, the wrestling only lasted for about ten minutes because invariably one of the kids got hurt in the head.

“It was his fault!” one said.

“But, he started!” the other griped.

“Now what can we do?” they whined.

“We’re bored!” they moaned.

Starting to lose my patience, I responded, “Go up to the basketball court. And don’t forget to take your ball!”

“But, no one is there!” they continued to whine.

“Everyone is on vacation!  Except for us!”

Guilt trip.

“Can we go on the computer?”

“NO! You cannot go on the computer at 8 AM.  You can go on the computer in the afternoon and you know each of your has a time limit on it anyway. GO. FIND. SOMETHING. TO. DO!”

And as for me, back to writing.

Now, what was I thinking about a minute ago?

Sh*t.

I lost it.

And it was such a good thought!

Agh.

And so went my vacation.

I got frustrated with my kids.

And frustrated that I was stuck home with them.

And stuck on wanting to anything other than be stuck in the house with them.

I just wanted to write.

And in the between my kids’ screaming and hollering and whining, I found myself going to the kitchen.

Mindless EatingFor a handful of this and a handful of that.

A latke here.

A jelly doughnut there.

And somehow, between trying to find something for these kids to do and writing down a fragment in my book, I kept returning to the kitchen.

Apparently, all I wanted to do was eat!

I must have been so hungry!

At one point, I almost ate the entire refrigerator!

It was obvious I was stuck on a desire to eat.

Or was there something more hiding behind that?

Somehow the morning passed and in the afternoon when the kids sat down for computer time, I went to my bedroom, lay on my yoga mat, and focused on my breath.

One inhalation, one exhalation.

Two inhalation, two exhalation.

The thought of, “Get off this mat, Shira, and go down for some hot chocolate,” came to mind a few times.

Three inhalation, three exhalation.

My belly felt full.

Overfull.

Which is when I realized that I wasn’t even hungry at all.

And, I wasn’t even hungry then.

All those times that I kept returning to the kitchen for more food wasn’t out of true hunger.

I was eating out of some other emotion.

And it dawned on me that I was eating out of my unsatisfied desire for wanting to work.

(Yes, the irony.  Most people in this world are seeking vacation and here I am desiring to work.)

Four inhalation, four exhalation.

I did a progressive relaxation exercise throughout my body.

And noticed my furrowed eyebrows.

Which I released.

I thought about the concept of needing to work on this book.

And how my kids are just taking away from that precious time.

Five inhalation, five exhalation.

I considered that I don’t really need to work on this book right now.

It can wait.

But my kids can’t.

They’re growing up before my eyes and now is the time to be with them.

After a few more breaths, I got up from my mat and reunited with my kids.

“Who wants to go wall climbing?” I asked.

“Me! Me! Me! Me!” they cried. (My daughter woke up by then.)

And so, we did.

I was reluctant to get into the car, but I did so anyway because my kids were anxious to wall climb.

And, I wanted to be with them.

I got stuck on desire (twice!), but it’s OK.

I am grateful I was able to see past both of them, save my body from any more harm that I already caused it, and savor the rest of the vacation with my kids.


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STUCK on You Did What To Your New Closet??

Today I woke up with an itch to clean the house.

Maybe it’s because I’ve kind of neglected my house over the past few weeks.

Maybe it’s because today is the first day of winter school break, I have no work and I have no activities planned for the kids today.

So, when I woke up, I straight away started to pick up and clean up.

Call me crazy, but that’s what I was doing at 6 AM.

And my two youngest children who were watching me got excited to join in.

(Because who said kids know how to sleep past 6 AM when it’s vacation? And who said kids don’t like to clean the house during their winter break from school?)

“Can we help?” they screamed.

“Uh, sure,” take these cloths and start dusting.

And off they went.

They dusted my bedroom.

They dusted the dining room.

They washed down the front of the refrigerator and the pantry closet.

“What next?” they asked eagerly.

“Uh, your room?” I suggested.

“Why don’t you check out the status of your room? Pick up the clothes off of the floor. Make your beds. You know, just clean up.”

And, off they went.

Two eager beavers.

It was a wonderful sight to see.

Because it doesn’t happen too often.

Or ever.

As I went to wash the dishes, I sung some morning prayers to myself and reminded myself how blessed I am.

I finished the dishes and called the kids over for breakfast.

When they finished eating, I told them to get dressed and I would take them to the playground.

When I cleaned up the breakfast table and did the dishes again (I do the dishes approximately 15 times a day), one of my children called from his room because he needed some help getting dressed.

“Sure, here I come,” I said with a hop and skip.

I looked at my 4-year-old son who was only half dressed.

“How can I help you?”

And then I looked at the floor to ceiling custom-made closet in their bedroom.

The beige one.

The new one.

Coloring on the ClosetThe one with fresh red crayon drawn all over it.

“What is this?” I screamed.

My youngest pointed to my 3rd child and said blamingly, “He told me to do it.”

“What?” I asked, looking at my 3rd child.

“Why would you tell him to color on your closet?”

“Because the closet was clean,” he responded slowly and innocently.

Clean? What are you talking about?” I was dumbstruck.

“Well,” he continued, “I couldn’t clean the front of the closet because it was already clean.  So, we put crayon on it so that we could clean it up.”

I looked at him incredulously.

Did I just hear what I thought I heard?

Is this kid for real?

Furious, I yelled, “Well, clean it up! We are not leaving this house until all of that red is off!” and stormed out of their room.

The audacity!

The chutzpah!

What was he thinking?

Why would he do that?

And in that moment, I had a flashback.

Going back to about 1980 when I was about seven years old.

When my younger brother and I colored on the white walls of the living room in the house I grew up.

With crayon.

Lots of them.

(Though, I don’t think we did it because the walls were looking too clean.  I think I told him to join me because the walls were looking too plain to me. They needed a bit of decorating for my taste.)

Anyway, I won’t ever forget that.

Because I remember getting yelled at.

And not quite understanding what I did that was so terrible.

And I also remember having to clean it up.

IMMEDIATELY!

Yikes!

Back to here.

Stuck on anger with my son.

And I didn’t want to stay stuck on anger with him.

So, I processed.

*****

S. Stop. I stopped and took a deep breath.

T. Tell. I was stuck on anger. I felt it in my face.

U. Uncover. I believed that my kids should know by this age (4 and 7) that coloring on the walls is not acceptable and it’s not an option.

C. Consider. I considered that my son really had no bad intentions. I considered that, as they were in the process of coloring, my son really believed he would be able to remove it easily with his rag, just as he was successful in cleaning up the rest of the house. I considered that they were just being creative, and creativity is something I honor and encourage in my kids. I considered that my sons felt badly and wrong for what they did. I considered, “What’s really the big deal? It’s just a closet.”

I went back into his room and witnessed the two boys working quite hard at getting that color off.

They were giggling while they worked.

My frown turned into a smile.

I told my sons that I was sorry that I yelled at them.

I told them I just reacted automatically in the moment.

And I reminded them we only color on paper, not furniture.

K. OK. I got stuck on anger and it’s ok.  Processing through it helped me notice how I react automatically sometimes and it created space for an apology that I needed to say and that my kids needed to hear.

It also helped remind me that my kids and I don’t always think alike.


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STUCK on My Smartphone!

Before I even wake up in the morning, I know that my phone has received messages throughout the night.

E-mails from friends and family in the States (7 hours behind me) and those living on my kibbutz that go to sleep later than I (which is nearly everyone!) and plenty of whatsapp messages from the hundreds tens of groups I must be in.

Guilty as charged, you will find me texting, whatsapping, composing/responding to emails while walking my child to preschool, while I’m supervising my children at the playground, while at work, while in the middle of a meal with my family, while reading a book to my child before he goes to sleep, or while speaking to any one of my family members.

It’s practically taken over my life one could say.

Because, it’s the way of communicating in this day and age.

It’s fast.

It’s convenient.

It’s effective.

It’s wonderful!

And, if you don’t have it, you haven’t a clue as to what’s going in any of your social, educational, or family circles.

But, like I said, it’s taking over my life.

My phone is ringing all the time.

And it’s a complete distraction to say the least.

A true intrusion of my life.

To give you an example, here are some of the whatsapp groups I’m in, just to name a few:

  • My husband’s family group;
  • The sisters-in-law of my husband’s family group;
  • My family’s group;
  • The parents of my children’s youth movement;
  • The parents of my 8th grader’s class;
  • The parents of the girls in my 8th grader’s class;
  • The parents of my toddler’s class;
  • The sub-neighborhood of the kibbutz that I live in group;
  • The “looking for a ride out of/into Hannaton” group;
  • The mindful eating groups I facilitate (there are two of them – that is, two groups, and two whatsapp groups);
  • The parents of the kids who travel on the minibus to school;
  • The parents (and teenagers) of the kids studying dance;
  • The babysitter group (still not sure why I’m on this one since I hardly ever need one);
  • The parents of the kids 7th grade and up on the kibbutz;
  • The parents of the kids in the national gifted program;
  • The parents of the basketball group (1st-3rd graders);
  • The yishuv (community) discussion group (or place to scream/yell/complain);
  • The Kibbutz Hannaton turning 30! group even though it never came to be;
  • The Fabulous October 14th birthday group (there are 4 of us on Hannaton!);
  • And, of course, individual friends who use this forum much more than they use text messaging.

And because my phone is ringing incessantly, I’m absolutely, no doubt about it, 100% stuck on needing to look at it, read my messages, and answer people instantaneously.

I automatically respond to the Pavlovian ding and take my out my phone to see who needs what, what’s going on, what’s the update, who forgot what, who needs a lift somewhere, who needs eggs at the market, where the next family gathering is and at what time, photos people want (need?) to share, and on and on and on.

And, if my hands are in the middle of washing the dishes or driving a car, I may very well ask one of my children to check the dinging phone and ask for their assistance… Who’s calling? Who sent an sms? Can you please respond to them in this way?

It’s quite obvious that I don’t need to be looking at nor answering my phone immediately.

But, I do.

So, knowing I’m S.T.U.C.K., I proceed to process:

  1. Stop and take a breath.
  2. Tell myself what I’m feeling – Perhaps anxious about the need to respond to people instantaneously?
  3. See what may be Underneath all of this: That I expect the same instantaneous response from everyone else?  (Yikes!) That I believe “I am my brother’s keeper?” and that this is what responsibility is all about?  That this is the right way to be? To respond immediately to others.
  4. Consider Choosing another perspective – This realization that I am stuck on needing to respond to my phone came to a head last week in my mindful eating group when we focused on practicing to intentionally pause throughout the day. Pause before eating.  Pause before speaking.  Pause before hitting send in an email. Pause before getting out of bed.  It was during that week that I realized that I was stuck on my phone in an extreme way – because I never pause when I hear it ding! And, it was during that week that I realized I could Choose to pause when I hear the phone ding.  I could Choose to just say, “Hm… there’s that ding again.  I’ll check who that was in a few minutes. Or after lunch.  Or when I get to my driving destination. Or after I put the kids to sleep. It can wait.  If it’s a true emergency, whoever is trying to contact me, will call.  And they’re not now, which means there’s no emergency.”  I can Choose to be a responsible and committed community member, without checking my phone instantaneously.  And, I can Choose not to expect instant responses from my friends, family, and community.

It won’t be easy.  It will take practice.  It won’t be natural for me.  It’ll go against my very own, impulsive nature.  But, I could Choose to try.

And, I did just that.

In fact, not only did I practice pausing, I silenced many of the groups that don’t demand immediate responses.

My phone became much quieter that week.

And I feel as if I gained a tremendous amount because of the concentrated practice: less stress, more time, more recognition of what’s going on in the present moment as opposed to the virtual life.

5. And in realizing all of this, I offered my self a sense of compassion, an oK, for getting stuck on all of this in the first place.


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Stuck on SHARE MY STRESS!

Mornings are often difficult in my household.

There’s so much to do to get 4 kids out of bed, ready for school, and out the door on time.

And this is a never relaxing experience.

******

06:45.

T-minus 40 minutes and counting.

Wake up the kids.

(Except for the two younger ones who are up when the rooster crows.)

My daughter gets up without any problems, which I am oh, so forever grateful for.

My older son?

I just turn on the lights on his room with a cheery, “Good morning!”, then strip the bed of all his covers at which point, he screams at me.

“NO!!!!!!!!!!”

“LET. ME. SLEEP!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Why, oh why, is this such a struggle every morning?

Perhaps I should be putting them all to bed by six in the evening.

**************

06:50.

T-minus 35 minutes and counting.

Get kids dressed.

Which 3 of the 4 can do quite well now on their own.

Picture 024

But, one child claims he doesn’t know how to.

Which, of course, he can.

He just doesn’t want to.

And, he’d rather bury his face in the sofa chair and cry about it rather than unzipping his sleeper to get the process going.

And while this hysterical scene is going on, another kid cries he can’t find matching socks.

And another one can’t find one shoe.

“Well, shouldn’t it be where it belongs?”I half whine.

********************

07:00.

T-minus 25 minutes and counting.

And, I’m already feeling like I need some help around here.

Picture 019“Husband, where are you?” I call from the kitchen.

No answer.

None.

So, I try to stay on track without losing it.

I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.

************************

Time for make the doughnuts breakfast.

And time to pray that the children arrive to the table without their pajamas on.

Picture 036

One child wants this bowl.

Another child wants that spoon.

This one wants this cereal, this one wants that one.

I do not like green eggs and ham.  I do not like them, Sam I Am.

Picture 034

And this one just complains, “There’s nothing ever to eat for breakfast in this house!”

So, naturally, he goes to the refrigerator, opens it, and stands there.

Looking.

Staring.

What dear G-d is going on in his mind?

Invariably, he shuts the refrigerator door and returns to the table empty handed with a droopy face.

*****************

07:10

T-minus 15 minutes and counting.

As I continue with the morning routine, pouring second helpings of cereal, picking up dropped spoons, cleaning up spilled milk, filling up cups of water, I turn to look at the empty lunch boxes that need to be filled.

Picture 040But, wait!

One child is calling to get his butt wiped.

Why, I don’t know.

He’s 4.

But, he still asks, and I still acquiesce.

But, yikes!

The lunches need to be made!!!

And I’m running out of time!

*****************

07:15.

T-minus 10 minutes and counting.

Picture 023

3 elementary school lunches!  (Or, as it were in Israel, the 10 o’clock meals).

Which consist of a sandwich and a fruit/vegetable on the side.

And, of course, this one wants a pita and this one wants a roll.

This one wants tahini and this one hates tahini.

This one prefers peanut butter and this one only wants jelly.

And I’m about to tear my hair out.

I look up again calling out to my husband.

Picture 019 Hello?????

Anybody there????

I’m going a little crazy down here.

And would love some help.

I’m running out of time.

They’re going to miss the bus!!

Hello?????

No answer.

*****************

07:20.

T-minus 5 minutes and counting.

As I frantically put the lunches in each school bag, and notice some of the kids are still half dressed and some have dried milk all over their mouths and one can’t find his kippah, and the other still can’t find his lost shoe, and, and…

And I’m literally feeling like I’m going to lose it…

Guess who shows up?

Picture 037Striding right in.

Cool as a cat.

All calm.

And refreshed.

Showered, dressed, and having undisturbed bathroom time.

With not an ounce of stress in his body.

Smiling ear to ear.

And, instead of hearing “Good morning, honey.  What can I do to help?”

I hear, “I just put a load of laundry in.”

Which in other words means, “Soon after you get the kids off to school, you’ll have to hang the laundry (since we don’t have a drying machine) before you start your work.” (I work from home.)

WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

I couldn’t handle hearing that.

I didn’t want to hear that.

I started to cry.

And he started at me as if I were crazy.

“Are you ok? I just said I turned the laundry machine on.”

And, I started to attack.

“Laundry? How can I think of laundry? I’ve got 3 kids needing to get to the bus, another kid needing to get to gan, lunches half made, bags not ready, a kitchen full of dishes…

And you’re talking about laundry?????”

SHARE MY STRESS WON’T YOU??!?

************

Yes, I got stuck.

Naturally.

But, only for a few minutes.

Because once the kids left and I calmed down (read: once I stopped ranting and raving), and I took a deep breath, I was able to acknowledge what was underneath all of this.

My frustration that my husband is not sharing in my stress.

And, at the time, I really felt I wanted him to be participating in my stress.

Because, as my kids remind me, it’s not fair!!!!

Why should I be carrying all the morning stress alone?

Whoever claimed this was my role?

But, I came to another perspective.

I don’t really want my husband to share my stress.

He’s got enough of it of his own, with his business, and with supporting a family of six.

And he certainly wouldn’t want me to share the stress that he has in his life.

And so instead, I asked him to help me figure out a way to lower the morning stress that’s in our household every morning.

To which we brainstormed together:

Wake the kids up earlier.

Picture 035Teach them prepare their own lunches in the morning (or even perhaps the night before).

Pick out their clothes (and socks and shoes) before they go to bed and make sure their bags are ready to go the night before.

Remind them that the chalkboard hanging in the kitchen is there for a reason.  If there’s a food they want in the house and we don’t have it, take responsibility and write it down.  Most likely, we’ll pick it up (as long as it’s not some utterly bad for your health processed food with 1,000 ingredients in it).

Encourage self-care (and remind them that if they know how to wipe their butt in their own in kindgergarten, they can certainly wipe their butt at home).

***********

Which is what I did.

And after this processing experience, life became a lot less stressful in the mornings.

And now I’m able to respond to the “I just put a load of laundry in” with a half chuckle, smile, and a hug.

and And I love you right up to the moon.  AND BACK.


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STUCK on I WANT MORE CORNFLAKES!!!

Not me.

My youngest son.

Which, by the way, is an example of the impetus for my idea of writing a children’s book in the theme of “stuck on the muck”.

Which of course, never happened.

But, I digress.

You see, screaming about not having enough cornflakes has somehow become a routine in our household.

My 3 1/2 year old wakes up at 6 am.

And he’s starving.

I mean starving!

He wants cornflakes.

I pour him a bowl.

But, it’s not enough.

Of course it’s not enough!

What in G-d’s name was I thinking for pouring him such a small amount of cereal???

But, of course, it is enough.

It always is.

You see, my husband and I have learned from experience that our kids never (ok, never is a strong word… 99% of the time they never) finish their cereal.

So, we pour it for them.

Giving them what we think they will eat.

And, if they want more, we gladly give them more.

(Not a very democratic approach, I know, but then again, that’s not our parenting style.)

So, I pour the cereal in the bowl for my youngest son.

Image2

But, he doesn’t like this idea.

Now, you may wisely say to yourself, “Shira, why don’t you use a smaller bowl?  Then, it would appear that he has more, and then he wouldn’t make an issue of this.”

But, no.

He wants the blue bamboo bowl.

And if he doesn’t eat out of that bowl, he cries.

OK, yes, this kid is spoiled.

What do you want?

He’s the youngest of four.

So, what does he do?

Well, today, he decided to pour half of it on the floor.

Image1Then, he screamed.

For like an hour.

Ok, not an hour.

Maybe 3 minutes.

But, enough time to wake up the whole kibbutz.

And all my efforts of trying to just get him to eat the cereal that was in his bowl (because neither my husband nor I were certainly going to cave in on this one), didn’t really help.

I took the video out about two minutes into this saga.

He didn’t like this one bit.

Image5Yet, his brothers did.

They got a kick out of it.

But, you know what?

It kind of helped.

Because slowly he started to accept the fact that he wasn’t getting any more until he first finished what he had.

He finally heard me.

Then, he begrudgingly began to eat his cereal.

Image4And, miraculously cleaned it up without any assistance by me.

He got unstuck!

So, maybe the book idea wasn’t such a great idea after all.

Maybe instead I should just go house to house and video children’s tantrums in action, thereby helping to quell their unmanageable behavior and alleviate the frustration of struggling parents.

Oh, now wouldn’t that be fun!


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STUCK on Wondering What are the Effects of this War on my Kids?

Last night, I drove my 9 year-old son to the airport.

The truth is, we don’t do that much driving outside the Jezreel Valley municipality on a regular basis.

So, I wasn’t surprised that my son was being attentive, looking out the window, commenting on things that he’s never seen before.

Yet, I was surprised with his persistent questions regarding the current war.

“Ema, where’s the airport located?”

“Near Tel Aviv.”

“Wait a minute.  Aren’t rockets being shot at Tel Aviv these days.”

“Yes.”

“Well, are we going to be in rocket range?”

“I don’t know.”

“Can we go another way? Like… can we avoid the rockets?”

“No.  There is no other way.”

“Ema… did you see that billboard?  It showed what to do if you hear a siren.”

“No, I missed it, what did it say?”

“It said pull your car to the side immediately.  Get out.  Walk far from your car.  Duck and cover your (and your children’s) heads.  Then, listen for further instructions.”

“Wow.”

“What? You didn’t know that? You don’t know what to do in case of an emergency like that?”

“No.  I mean, yes.  I know.  I’m just surprised you saw a billboard like that.”

“Ema, did you know that the fragments from the rockets and Iron Dome that fall from the sky are said to be more dangerous than the rockets themselves?”

“Really?  Wait a minute. How do you know that?”

“I heard it from my friends.”

“Really?  You talked about that with your friends?”

“Yeah… of course.”

1 hour later at the airport.

“Ema… see that sign? It’s pointing to the security room is.  But, where is it actually?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, should we ask? Just in case?”

“No, I think if a siren starts, we’ll hear instructions.”

And all I could think of was, “How is this war affecting my children?”

I never really considered how, or to what extent, this war (or any other war/operation) is affecting my children.

And all children.

On both sides.

Short-term.

Long-term.

Emotionally.

Socially.

Spiritually.

Philosophically.

Psychologically.

Consciously.

Unconsciously.

I have to admit, I never really thought about it.

I just kind of assumed it’s not affecting them too much.

But, it’s gotta be.

On some level.

News flash: Excavator terror attack in Jerusalem – 1 pedestrian killed, 7 injured, terrorist shot dead.

Do my kids know?

Will they?

What will they think?

Should I hide it from them?

aitanThis is what I’m stuck on today, as I witness the huge smile.

On my son’s  face.

In America.

Far away from rockets.

And sirens.

And billboards telling you what precautions to take in case a rocket is headed your way.