Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Kindergarten Fight

This weekend was great! I went to Kefar Tavor to stay with family friends (Iftach and Shoshana Genez) and today we went to a restaurant in Tel Yitzhak which is right by Netanya. The event was a family birthday party. All of Shula and Itzik's kids(Shula and Itzik are my dad's adopted family who live on Kibbutz Bet Alfa), including Iftach, have birthdays in October so it is easiest and nicest to have a joint celebration. I'm sorry for the family lineage here -- it would be easiest to draw a family tree but unfortunately Blogspot lacks a drawing tool. They included me in the festivity since I also have a birthday in October and it was great seeing the entire family in one place.
Now to the title of the blog. I had a realization this past week in the kindergarten this past week: I don't want to be a kindergarten teacher. Just kidding -- the realization has important real-world applications that occur on a daily basis. Two of the little ones, Matan and Nadav, had a fight while playing soccer out on the playground. Matan claimed that Nadav was not sharing the ball enough and Nadav claimed that that's just the way that soccer goes. The outcome was that Matan (notorious for his temper tantrums) broke out into a hysterical crying fit and, flailing his arms madly, began chasing Nadav all around the playground. Both of the kids were sent inside to be reprimanded by the kindergarten teacher. The situation was resolved yet for the rest of the day both kids were mad at each other. I asked myself, as I often do at the kindergarten, "When does this kind of behavior stop?" As I began to sift through my mind for various things that I've heard about child psychology and experienced in my own maturation through childhood, I stumbled upon a realization. This behavior doesn't really stop. As knowledgeable as we become and for the amount of experience we acquire through our progression in life, we often become irrational when it comes to arguments. Petty arguments escalate into bitter warfare -- not only on a political basis but in social relations as well. As you may be thinking, I am hinting toward the conflict over here in the Middle East. By no means am I labeling the conflict's inception as "petty" but it has infected so much of society that a common mantra I hear from a large portion of Israelis is, "There is no negotiating with the Arabs. The Arabs are brainless monsters that only want the destruction of the Jewish people and Israel." It would be too much to ask a 5-year-old to cope with the philosophies of empathy and passion but I believe that this is what it ultimately comes down to. It is a balance between feeling for others around us while keeping our own passions and interests in mind. There is such a wide-range of historical accounts of Israeli-Arab history to the point where you can find such contradictions as, "The Israelis viciously assault Palestinians in their hometowns unwarrantedly," and the juxtaposing, "Palestinians spray sulfuric acid in the faces of Israeli guards unwarrantedly." Some accounts are pure BS, but there is no discounting either side of the argument completely. The result of this stressful and quarrelsome situation? Lots of cigarettes and lots of crying.
So how does one go about solving the situation? I wish the answer were as easy as something from Tuesdays with Morrie (which I just finished reading). If it were, however, there would still most likely not be peace here in the Middle East. Even after the little skirmish between Nadav and Matan had been resolved, they remained mad at each other. Their pride had swolen too large to occupy the same area and therefore the battle went on.

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