Moving from the States to Israel has been an interesting experience. But for all of the differences that I have experienced, one that is humbling is the way that parents in Israel parent their children. Starting with erev Shabbat, the week comes to a start where everyone rests.
Friday to sundown on Saturday is when people rush home and stores close early.
This “day of rest” allows for parents and children to bond. Food is always cooking prior to the siren going off. And this is one of my favorite times of the week since the kids are all home, relaxing with us and spending time together as a family. We’ll often start with a scrabble word finder and then move onto other games.
Kids are more independent, allowed to play outside and spend time with their friends. This freedom is something that seems to be disappearing in the States, and it was refreshing to see kids being kids in Israel. Freedom also allows kids to miss their parents somewhat, and it allows for a much more freeing experience as a parent.
I don’t have to supervise every little thing my child does, and this leads to a much higher level of independence for my children.
Parks and playgrounds are in every neighborhood, and you’ll find kids enjoying themselves in every neighborhood. Speaking of playing, when a child does get sick, because they always do, you’re able to take the day off.
In fact, your boss will expect that you’re taking the day off instead of expecting you to come into the office.
Summers are hot, really hot, so this offers another bonding time for parents who will get together with their kids to spend time in the water. Beaches are beautiful, but you’ll need to navigate your way through tourists.
Children also seem to be more in tune with what’s going on around them in Israel. It’s no secret that there’s political strife in Israel, but in the United States, kids normally don’t have a good grasp on politics or war. Even when they do, they have a skewed view that their parents push on them. Some of the most important holidays, such as Memorial Day, are seen more as a day off then a day of remembrance.
Israelis have a higher level of respect and understanding for these important days.
Maturity is a major difference that I am seeing, and perhaps it’s the higher level of independence or the greater understanding of family time that is leading to this difference in maturity. Kids can even be seen making packages for soldiers, and kids are taught about the Holocaust at a very young age.
When a baby is on the way, kids will wait with excitement, as does most of the community.
Kids even share their snacks together at the park, and even when on the bus, strangers will engage with kids and try to entertain them. Even teenagers will play with babies and kids, so it’s a community parenting experience and one that is a lot nicer than in the United States.