A Frindle Distraction

As the media sowed frenzied fear during COVID, and the government imposed isolation on citizens, destroying relationships and the economy in one draconian move, people turned to mashed potatoes. Just as had happened after 9/11, comfort food and comfort reading proliferated.

Quite frankly, I do not want to be comforted right now. As the hostages dribble out of Hamas captivity, I must hold a place in my heart for their continuing pain as well as for the pain of those who remain trapped. The families of hostages who are being callously toyed with as the terrorists choose who shall be free and who shall be held, are continually suffering. Terrorism is being accommodated and excused around the world. It is not time for comfort.

In Genesis 37:35, Jacob refused to be comforted when told that Joseph had died. In II Samuel 12: 15-23, King David refused to be comforted when his newborn son lay between life and death. Most compelling to any Jewish mother, Jeremiah 31:15, depicts our matriarch Rachel weeping and refusing to be comforted thousands of years after her death, while her children are still exiled and missing. In all these cases, there was (and in Rachel’s case is) still hope. There were/are still actions that can be taken to help one’s child. If pain pushes me to say one more prayer, do one more kindness, donate to one more charity, or write one more letter, then it serves a purpose.

Nevertheless, I also need to turn my mind away from picturing mothers with empty arms and children being tortured to let me fall asleep at night and push through my daily tasks. I can focus on the tremendous amount of good pushing back against evil—and there is much nobility, compassion, and courage happening—but at some point, I deliberately choose distraction hoping to soothe my mind.

This comes in different forms such as playing either mindless and/or mind-challenging games on my iPad. However, a more positive method is allowing myself to be swept up in a well-written, drama-free book. One contribution I can make to a saner world is to help parents build a healthy future by finding reading material that will entertain and enrich their children’s development. When I can both be distracted and also recommend a good book, I have hit gold.

I don’t know how I missed his books until now, but I just came across Frindle by Andrew Clements. I have since read two additional, equally delightful books of his. Since he authored over 80 titles, I can’t vouch for them all, but I will be on the lookout for more. I was sorry to hear that he died in 2019, as I wanted to reach out and thank him. What so impressed me is that his books, aimed at the pre-teen group, present clever, creative, slightly mischievous kids, and also sympathetic though authoritative adults. Not an easy mix. The three books I read had not one instance of juvenile name-calling or other objectionable behavior intended to “relate” to young readers, something I appreciate. Everyone is treated with respect.

I think that I am going to hear from some of you saying, “Really, Susan, you never read Frindle?” but perhaps some of you, like me, haven’t. Raising healthy children today is a formidable challenge, and carefully monitoring, choosing, and disseminating positive reading material while pushing back against all the destructive (and often highly acclaimed) books that are being published is an important step to reclaiming the future.

This Musing is dedicated in memory of Staff Sgt. Tomer Yaakov Ahimas, 20; Sgt. Kiril Brodski, 19; and Sgt. Shaked Dahan, 19, whose bodies are being held by Hamas. May HaShem avenge their deaths and those of all those innocents murdered on Oct. 7, 2023.

With gratitude to God for today’s release of Gali Tarshansky, age 13, and with prayers for the safety and homecoming of her fellow hostages.

What do you think? We’d love to hear your thoughts on this Susan’s Musings post.
We Happy Warrior members can both read and write comments HERE.

Not a member yet? Susan’s Musings is a reader-supported publication.
We truly appreciate those of you who sign up for a Basic membership. This lets us know we are providing value to you.

Getting Ready for the Holidays?

Our Chart Your Course Bundles are on sale and perfect for gift-giving!
$25 $20

Do you sometimes determine, with the best of intentions, to improve an aspect of your life but your inspiration flags a bit down the road? We all know the feeling of looking back at the end of a year, disappointed that we seem rather the same as we did a year earlier. That is what Chart Your Course Journal and Video Bundle is designed to help with.
A few minutes a day add up to a new you!

Bundle is available with a paperback book or an ebook.


Shopping Cart