Resilience: the capacity to withstand or recover quickly from difficulties. We wish this quality for our children, especially because in America and Europe we have a front-row seat viewing the anxious, fragile, angry, and self-aggrandizing university students who have never met a challenge that cannot beat them.
I have been witnessing resilience daily since the assault on Israel and civilization erupted on Shabbat morning, October 7, 2023. The news coming out of southern Israel after Shabbat and over the next few days was and continues to be completely devastating. Proportionally, the number of lives lost in one day equates to over 40,000 citizens in the United States or more than 10,000 in England. The unspeakable barbarism of the terrorists and their celebration of savagery is incomprehensible to the decent mind. One would think that the shock, grief, and mourning for the lives lost, fear for the hostages taken, along with the knowledge that many more difficult days filled with tragedy still lie ahead, would paralyze this nation.
Yet, the people of Israel are not beaten down. This includes teenagers whose lives became more precarious, and subsequently more valuable. Let me give you three examples from my own limited circle.
- Schools were canceled. When I went to volunteer at a location where cakes and candies were being prepared for soldiers, for those on the border who were evacuated, and for those who are now widowed, orphaned, and bereaved, I worked alongside a group of young girls aged 12 -14. Each of these girls has someone dear to them who is fighting. In discussing a postponed history exam, they shared that the teacher’s brother had just been killed in action. No drama, no hysteria or self-pity. These girls could help by baking, washing dishes, and packaging food. There was no supervisor, no one making them be there or telling them what to do. They knew they were competent and could be helpful. And they were. Other teenagers, both boys and girls, are helping by cooking, babysitting, running errands, and doing whatever is needed for mothers with young families whose husbands are away.
- There are thousands of young men from around the world who are not Israeli citizens, but who continue intensive higher level religious studies at seminaries known as yeshivot. These schools close for the Festival of Tabernacles and the boys were supposed to go back to studying next week. This week was meant to be their chance for vacation. Instead, they went back immediately after the Festival. Among them is one of our American grandsons. No grumbling, no safe havens for them to discuss the shocking events of the past days. (Compare that to universities in America that canceled classes after President Trump’s election because the poor children couldn’t be expected to concentrate after such a catastrophe!) Knowing that the safety of the country is in God’s Hands, they are putting in extra hours of prayer and study, doing their part to merit the Almighty’s mercy.
- There has been a massive mobilization of soldiers. After finishing their years of Army service post-high school, Israeli men remain available for call-up. Many return for training and operations once a year. It is common to have a storekeeper, dentist, or professor who is absent for a few weeks on an annual basis. We have many friends and relatives whose sons and grandsons are now on the front lines, men ranging from age eighteen to those in their thirties. What of those younger than eighteen, women who aren’t active service, older citizens, and those not able to serve for one or another reason? A second grandson of ours is an American, studying in a top-notch college here. Most of his classmates are fighting, something he cannot do since he does not have Israeli citizenship. Yet we have barely seen him. He has been part of a crew working around the clock to set up dormitories for displaced families or pulling a through-the-night shift at a bakery that is running 24 hours a day baking bread for the troops. He attended his first funeral – at the request of a friend at the front, he stood in for him as a comrade was buried, hitting the ground with the other mourners as incoming missiles blasted nearby.
No one wishes for his or her child to face a serious loss or illness, to go to war, or to be at the site of a horrific attack. Yet, when life is too easy, children can remain immature and selfish. They often fail to grow up. The pampered West is full of many adults who once were those indulged teenagers. This is a conundrum of being human. I am awed by the teenagers I am meeting. How to encourage thoughtful, energetic, loving, and competent children without them having to go through tragic and brutally tough times is a question worth contemplating.
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.
THE GATHERING STORM
The events in Israel over the past few days make it absolutely clear that we are witnessing the latest in a long line of bloody battles between barbarism and civilization. If you have not watched or listened to The Gathering Storm, we suggest that you do. This fight is not new and the Bible, from Genesis through the Book of Esther, sheds light on what is happening.