Those of you who are regular readers of this blog know that I have a son in the Israeli army. Although he is attached to a combat unit (Oketz- the canine unit), he is not a combat soldier. That does not mean that his service does not incur danger. It does, daily. Just recently, as he was transporting a soldier and his dog to a place of deployment (so that they could capture a wanted terrorist alive, rather than killing him), a Palestinian driver tried very hard to cause my son to have a fatal traffic accident. [At first, my son didn’t realize what was going on. Now that he has experienced this, he hopes to be more aware and on the lookout.] I am grateful that my son had the ability and common sense (and benevolence of G-d) needed to survive the incident. His ascertations that his service is still safer than working as a pizza delivery man (on motorcycle) does little to calm my nerves.(I am not allowing his younger brother to deliver pizzas, either!)
Now his younger brother is contemplating his future, and has decided that he DEFINITELY wants to enter the services as a combat soldier. I queried him, not as discouragement, but from curiosity, “WHY?”
The answer I got was unclear. “I don’t want to have a desk job and be bored.” [My initial thought is I will supply him with anything he needs to not be bored.....] I think it has much more to do with a male psyche thing of needing to feel manly, important, and challenged. In the meantime, he has already started exercising with a group to prepare himself for the grueling hikes and runs that the combat soldiers need to do. He is growing leaner and taller, more athletic, and more self confident. That alone is probably as enticing as a drug to a seventeen-year old. That and the comradeship of his group. He is metamorphosing before my eyes into a confident, cocky, and self-assured fellow. He is beginning to remind me of his older brother Meir. Meir is a scholar, but also has this same self-assuredness (and athletic build as well). Frankly, I would rather my son be a scholar. But he isn’t, and at least in the meantime, he won’t be. Am I scared of his future army service? Yes. I am a mother. But I will have to learn to live with it. Maybe I will need to undergo some metamorphosis myself. But as much as it hurts, the heart of a mother will not change.