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But as parents become more confident of themselves and their own ability to accurately gauge what is right for them and their family, one of two things can happen. Either they can come down harder on the new initiates, making the first years of new parenthood something akin to a fraternity hazing period, or they can turn their attention elsewhere — like to the future of their children.
Our world is a broken one. Over this past year, we saw what seemed to be more than a fair share of disasters, and many of those disasters hit close to home. Homes themselves, as well as businesses, were destroyed by the arbitrary wanderings of wind and weather when Hurricane Sandy made landfall. Friends in Israel herded their children into walk-in closets — improvised safe rooms — when sirens went off signifying that rockets were being hurled at their homes and cities. Gunmen murdered innocent people in shocking locations all over our country: a movie theater, a hospital, a mall and an elementary school.
Perhaps the last — a brutal scene of carnage in which 27 people were murdered within hours, 20 of them children most of them no older than 6 — will prove to be the final straw for many. “I can’t stop thinking about it,” many mothers have told me in the days since the Newtown, Conn., massacre. Parents found themselves experiencing extreme empathy, hand in hand with terror and anger.
With that terror and anger, hopefully, will come determination. The era of social media lends itself to social action, and after Newtown, a groundswell of voices is rising up, consisting of those who want to change the country, precluding further murders of innocent children in schools. It is not the only part of our country that needs fixing. It is, however, a start.
My hope is that in the coming year, the endless feeding of the “mommy war” beast will end, and instead parents will throw away their spears of needless acrimony and join together to pick up their pens to attempt to build a better future for our children. I hope “mommy wars” will be suspended permanently, and in their stead, there will be a collective realization of “parent power.”
Admittedly, we will probably disagree with one another. Being a parent does not put you in a particular ideological category any more than being a Jew does. But we are at a point, surely, where it has been etched for us in black and white: The future, and indeed, the very lives of our children depend on us seizing the opportunity.
Jordana Horn is the former New York bureau chief for The Jerusalem Post and a contributing editor to the parenting website Kveller.com