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  • Working in the children’s house

    For two months I was assigned to work in one of the children’s houses in the kibbutz. The children live separate from their parents; so that both men and women could be equally productive in the workforce.

    One of the mothers assured me that she visited her daughter during the morning, and then she gave her quality time at home in the afternoon..

    On my way to work on my first morning I saw a young mother sleepily walking across the campus half-dressed to breast feed her baby; and I entered the playroom just as the two child carers were changing babies and putting the toddlers on their potties. I joined in putting breakfast on the table.

    A little boy sat day dreaming on his potty and was suddenly whisked off and shoved into some clothes.

    I saw a little boy take some toast off his buddy; who had lost interest in his breakfast;

    “This is our greedy boy,” the house mother told me, snatching the toast back.

    This label will stick with him all the way to adulthood, I thought. When will he get the chance to become respected as an individual?

    I chatted to a teenage boy that evening, who felt he was the odd one out of all the boys and girls he grew up with. His parents were much older than his peers’ mothers and fathers, and did not give him the quality time he yearned for.

    The kibbutz children move to different houses in the same group all the way through school.

    When will he have the chance to break out on his own and choose his own friends I wondered. I was only nineteen but I knew I did not want to bring my own children up in a community. I wanted to be the first one to see them take their first steps and praise them in the way only a mother could.
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