Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Week 32/33, days 2 and 3

Tuesday. Nothing much of note happened during our formal school time. Both P and E wanted to watch the math video, and half an hour's search failed to turn it up, so I let them watch another video instead. We then spent an hour or so looking at some of my dad's photos from Israel, Jordan, and the surrounding areas. Half the photos I couldn't identify, but there were a few featuring me in pigtails or my brother in a stroller (we lived in Israel when I was a preschooler), or my brother and I as teenagers (when we lived in Jordan), which held the kids' interest. We also looked at my dad's photos featuring the Garden of Gethsemane, Golgotha, and the Garden Tomb, retelling the Easter story with photos of where it happened.

Wednesday: Geography. This morning, inspired by my inability to find the math video yesterday, I did some serious clean-up in my room while Ari's mom took the kids out. I feel much happier now, even though the math video didn't turn up. P's violin lesson was right after the kids got back, so we only started school at about 3pm. Because P and E were tired, it took more pushing than usual to get through everything I wanted to. We were studying Israel today (which is why I showed them those pictures yesterday), and we spent some time looking at the children's atlas page. In addition to talking about various places where Biblical events happened, I gave a brief overview of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. It was easy to frame in terms of P and E's everyday skirmishes. P looks at E wrong, so E says, "No, P!", so P roars at E, so E hits P, so P hits E harder, so E hits P harder while yelling at the top of his lungs, so P hits E yet harder while shrieking at the top of her lungs... by this time the kids were rolling on the floor laughing at my description. I explained that unfortunately, some grown-ups in charge of countries or large groups of people act like that, only worse, when they both want the same thing (namely, the land). Neither side can have all the land they want, so they scream and hit each other (or blow each other up) and unfortunately their mother doesn't come in and pull them to opposite sides of the room, because countries don't have mothers. Having lived on both sides (Jordan - whose population is more than half Palestinian - and Israel) I tend to be impatient with anyone who casts either side as the "good guys". I agree with my dad on this: in his "Christian Perspectives on the Modern Middle East" class, he informed his students that in his class, there was only one stupid question: "Who are the good guys?" There is only one good guy, and as it turns out he was born in Israel, roughly 2000 years ago. Jesus is the only one who can transform a hating heart into a forgiving one, and I personally am beyond thankful that he can and does.

In any case, we looked through the pictures from the library book I got about Israel. It was clearly written by someone who didn't care for Christianity (our atlas mentions Jesus twice in its 2-page spread on Israel, whereas this 62-page book only mentions him once in passing, skips straight from the Maccabees to the fall of Jerusalem in 70AD in the history section, and spends only 2 paragraphs talking about Christianity in Israel, listing it after the Baha'i and Druze and devoting more space to each of those as well). But it gave a relatively balanced view on the Palestinian conflict, and the pictures were worth looking at. P started making a book which I'll have her finish tomorrow. I made falafel for dinner, reminiscing about when we lived in Jordan and crossed the border, reaching Jerusalem somewhat after lunch time and thoroughly enjoying a falafel with my family outside the walls of the Old City.

1 comment:

  1. Good explanation of the conflict! I've been trying to explain bits of why people bomb each other in wars as we've read Grandfather's Journey this week. Good luck with the video. I took me six weeks to find a library CD list last month.