Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Do Mothers Hold the Key to Peace?

We sing songs at this time of year that talk of Peace on Earth, Goodwill Toward Men. And then, just a few days after Christmas, we see news reports of Israeli atttacks on Palestine in retaliation for the rockets fired by Hamas from the Gaza Strip. And we wonder if our world will ever really experience the Peace and Joy these songs exhort.

I read an article about a week ago regarding this very subject. It made me think about mothers in the Middle East and it made me wonder about the choices that are being made there regarding the lives of their children. I'm not trying to judge here. I just don't get it. But it's a different culture, with different values. How to you convince people who are born and raised to believe that their neighbors are evil and must die that just maybe there is another way to look at things? How do you overcome a culture that teaches mothers that children will be exalted when they die as martyrs (suicide bombers) by taking out a street filled with Israelis or Westerners? At what point do mothers in these countries stand up and shout "Enough!"? This is exactly what this article, written by Mitchell Bard, addresses.

I have been thinking about the article ever since I read it. Actually, not so much about the article as about mothers in general. It's easy for me, living here where I am relatively safe, to wonder how mothers in the Middle East could allow the questionable traditions of their forefathers to be passed on to their children when those traditions cause so much death and destruction.

Then it occured to me that maybe we are struggling with some of the same issues, albeit on a much different level. We have become a country divided. Especially in the political arena. One of the reasons this election has been so stressful is because it has seriously magnified the shifts in values and morals that our country is experiencing. There has always been a difference of opinion when it comes to how our country should be governed, that is nothing new. The difference lies in the way we handle our disagreements as a collective citizenry. Peaceful disagreement seems to be a thing of the past. Those seeking power or acceptance have resorted to manipulating the truth, name-calling, hateful and vindictive behavior and even violence to achieve an end result that has done nothing but reward criminals and put our freedoms and way of life in peril.

We also have our own brand of suicide bombers. Our suicide bombers don't strap on bombs and blow themselves and their conservative neighbors to smithereens in hopes of receiving virgins in heaven. Our suicide bombers fight for acceptance of immoral behaviors. They pass laws that undermine our constitution. They use public schools to teach our children about alternative lifestyles and to encourage socialism and other issues that have nothing to do with academics.

While our issues may not be exactly the same, the fact that our children are being subjected to the evils of the world is something all mothers have in common. How we protect our children is where the difference really lies. As Americans we have been blessed with a culture that has allowed us the opportunity to voice our opinions and offers us alternatives to violence when fighting for peace. The scripture Ephesians 6:12 says it best: For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. We understand that fighting against the policymakers will ultimately do more than blowing up a neighborhood. So we take to the streets, the polling places, the halls of Congress.

Mr. Bard points out in his article that part of the problem in Palestine is the lack of willingness by women there to take a stand. "Palestinian women as a group have never been willing to stand up to the men who send their children out to be suicide bombers. They have never said to their leaders that it is time to stop advocating violence against Israel, which has only brought their families misery, and negotiate a peace agreement that would allow two states to coexist side by side." Easy to say. Sometimes harder to do. But ultimately, for the sake of Palestinian and Israeli children, it has to be done!

Mothers have often been a force to be reckoned with. In Mr. Bard's article, he points to 2 or 3 different groups of women who organized and protested to bring about policy changes that they felt were better for their countries. We know from our own country's history that the Suffragettes are the reason that American Mothers have such a big say in our own electoral process! As mothers, we are a powerfulful group! We truly have the ability to help change the course that our country, even our world, takes. Mothers have power. Why? Because the love we feel for our children is deeper and stronger than any bond on earth. (Not that dads don't have that bond too. But we are talking about moms today. We'll do a dad post soon.) And that bond compels us to fight fiercely on their behalf when we feel they or their future are being threatened. We eat, drink and sleep our childrens' well-being! We dream for them and with them. We plan for them and with them. We strive to give them every opportunity to be successful.

Will they be grow up to be politicians and statesmen and work to promote peaceful communication and positive change? If we teach them how to deal with confrontation and differences of opinion without getting angry and using violence, then chances are they WILL become people who work to promote peace and positive change.

Will they become criminals and terrorists who justify poor decisions, inflict pain on others and use dishonesty as a means to an end? If they are taught to hate those who are different and hear negative, untrue and unkind words about others in their home, if unseemly behavior is ignored or rewarded, then they go out into the world filled with venom. They direct their unhappiness toward those who are different, those who are successful and those who seek to hold them accountable. And then chances are they will become terrorists, criminals or corrupt businessmen and politicians.

Our children will be who we teach them to be. Will there ever be peace in the Middle East? Until Palestinian children are taught to love their neighbors, or at the very least to tolerate or ignore their neighbors, Israel and Palestine will always be at war.

Will the United States continue to be riddled with corruption in high places? Will there continue to be hatred for those who believe in God? Will the unkind words and unseemly behavior become the norm, while courtesy, kindness and morals are mocked and spat upon? Until extreme Liberals quit confusing "tolerance" with complete acceptance, they will clash with religious Conservatives who stand by a set of core values. Until Americans start holding public officials accountable for dishonest behavior, we will be governed by criminals. Is this the legacy we want to pass on to our children? Do we want them to grow up to be adults who are afraid of their government and neighbors?

If we continue to ignore the policies being made in our country and simply hope for the best without taking a stand, are we doing any better than women in Palestine to protect our children? Aren't we sending our kids the same message? We are telling them that we would prefer them to be followers and accept a way of life that will harm them in the long run. And that can be just as bad as strapping a bomb to their little bodies. Maybe even worse, because by allowing them to succumb to socialistic, immoral behavior, we sentence them to a long, slow spiritual death. A little dramatic? For sure. But the point has to be made that conservative families will continue to be targeted and under seige until we love our kids enough to stand up and say "ENOUGH!"

So...do mothers hold the key to peace on earth? YES! Mothers do hold the keys to peace on earth. First we create it in our homes. Then we take it to the streets. We stand up and shout "ENOUGH!" when the corruption begins to take hold and our children begin to suffer from its effects. When women gather in support of a cause, there is no stronger force on earth. Mothers have effected change in all parts of the world as they stand resolute in the desire to create a better world, whether that world be their own little village or an entire continent.

Do I believe there can be peace on earth? Yeah. On a global scale? I don't know. But I do know when mothers love their children enough to call for an end to hatred and violence, corruption and tyranny, lies and dishonesty, peace will come. It may take awhile for places like Palestine and Israel. They have a lot to overcome. But it shouldn't take as long for us here in the United States. In fact, in 2 years, we should have a bunch of new Congressmen in place. And 2 years after that, we should have a new president in place who will help us in our quest to create a safer world for our kids. We have freedom on our side. We have the constitution and knowledge and truth on our side. So this is a call to arms, Moms!! If you can't change THE world, at least try to change YOUR world. And pray for Moms in Palestine to have the courage to be the catalysts for change in their own country.

Peace, my bloggy friends. It's what's for dinner.

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