I had a thought today while I was in the shower..sometimes I do my best thinking there..
I was thinking about the correlation between the US role in taking care of or "parenting" the world and my own experience in parenting my child.
I thought this was a worthy analogy so take a read and let me know what you think.
The US seems to be mired in the Iraq conflict...there is great debate on whether or not we should send in more troops to assist the Iraqi govt in quelling the violence and thereby having them become a viable and strong unity government. There doesn't appear to be any definitive solution at this time.
In theory I feel that they THOUGHT the war in Iraq would be a good and needed intervention..HOWEVER what I have seen lately is, no matter how much money or support we give them, they (The Iraqis) don't seem to be stepping up to the plate in creating a peaceful and democratic Iraq. Not to say it can't or won't happen, it just doesn't seem to be gaining much momentum and our troops are caught up in the middle.
My husband and I have been parenting our daughter for 18 years..when she became a teenager, she was considered a "troubled teen" Failing in school, major bad attitude, anger issues and drug use. We worked with her school, we worked with psychologists, we worked with our family..we felt we were doing as much as we could and still she spiraled downward..in Jan of 2004 the situation came to a head and we were forced into a making a decision about her safety and well being..in crisis, I enrolled her in a special program school for troubled teens out of state. I had escorts come into my home at 3 am to wake her from her bed and take her away to this school. It was a radical decision, it was heartbreaking, but we knew in our hearts that if we didn't do something immediately she could perhaps soon make a life altering choice that would change her life forever and not in a good way. We as parents had to make a tough choice for the well being of our child.
Lets look at President Bush making the decision to take us into the war in the spring of 2003. The administration made a case that of we didn't do something about the threat of Saddam Hussein then we might possibly be looking at major consequences including mushroom clouds, weapons of mass destruction and surely death and destruction to us all. Now lets just say he really believed that..perhaps he did..perhaps he didn't, that is another debate. But lets just for now say he did believe it. He like me..made a choice..a radical choice..
Ok...so now my daughter is in this facility, it's not a boot camp, it's not a rehab center, it was not ordered by the courts, she did not break any laws and was not an addict (yet). It is a facility that uses group therapy, one on one therapy, tough no nonsense rules, a program of good behavior equals rewards and academics. the other major factor with this program is she had to (by her positive actions) rise up through a level system, the higher up she rises the more rewards she gets. She needed to rise to level 3 before we could speak with her on the phone. Letters and packages were encouraged, but no phone or visiting privileges were awarded until she got to Level 3. This took 8 months. That's right I didn't speak to my daughter for 8 months! It wasn't easy..it was heartbreaking, but we felt in our heart of hearts that this was the right thing to do. We wanted the program to be able to work with her, while we worked on our stuff separately.
Back to Iraq....we send troops, weapons, we do a shock and awe invasion, we bring down Saddam, we proclaim Mission accomplished, but we lose some soldiers along the way, after all it is war...and that is sadly what happens. It was hard, it was heart breaking, but we all felt it was worth the sacrifice to bring down this evil regime. That was 3 months after we went to war...3 months...MISSION ACCOMPLISHED..right?
After my daughter was in the program for 10 months, her and OUR hard work had only just begun we were now given the opportunity to meet with her and to start repairing our relationship...we were all in a learning mode. We were taught tools to use to communicate, tools to use to look at all of our lives from a slightly different perspective. a perspective from our daughters POV and her a perspective from our POV..we worked hard during phone calls and letters..and 12 months into the program we were able to finally have a visit with her. We spent 3 days enjoying each others company and working on our issues..after our visit we felt that the were coming back together as a family ad were seeing the light at the end of this part of our parenting journey. We knew she was going to come back home again..we wanted her home..we wanted to be a whole and healthy family again.
As the months drag on in Iraq and more soldiers are killed and maimed..Iraq puts together a Unity govt..people actually vote for the first time in many years...they are happy to be working towards being a whole and healthy democratic and free country. We wanted this for them...they wanted it for themselves... But somewhere along the way..the brewings of a civil war were taking place...the country started to divide up..each group wanting more power..
We brought our daughter home after 13 months in the program..we were armed with all the new tools we had gained..we were optimistic about our future..the rules were in place....the communication lines were open..and happily we continued on our journey..but 3 months into the newest leg of our journey...our daughter wanted to regain her power...her autonomy...her craving for independence..we saw ourselves slipping back into our old roles...and we didn't want to go back to the way things were, so we set up some guidelines...a parameter if you will..with the stipulation...that she could either work within he parameters of this family or she could a. go back to a program b.or leave...
we were no longer going to be held hostage by her behavior...well she left for a day (went to her sisters, thank god) she called and said she wanted to come home...I said...you are welcome to come home as long as you live within our parameters..here are the rules...tell me know on the phone if you will agree to them....she said she had to get back to me...ha ha..a day later she called and said...I agree.....
She came home...we continued working together as a family, but now we did something we never did before..we started to step back...she knew the rules...we wanted to see what she would do with a little independence in decision making..and as long as she followed the rules...we allowed her to create a life for herself...we told her she must go to school while living in our home..either full time or get a GED and work full time while contributing to the household...she decided on her own to go back to her high school...she wanted to be a "normal" kid, she wanted to go to her prom, football games and be a senior and all that goes with that....next we told her if she wanted things..she had to work for them..we were not going to pay for cell phones, CD's, whatever..so...she found a job....next, she got her drivers license and she is now in college..away from home...we provide financial support (as long as she keeps her end of the bargain) emotional support (she calls often to vent and get some advice) and unconditional love...she's our daughter and good or bad we love her. But we will NOT give, give give, without her working towards creating a life for herself.. and she's doing it now...because SHE WANTS IT..she WANTS to succeed, she's not doing it for us...she's doing it for herself. We told her...it's your life honey, we'll assist you if you need or want assistance, but you have to want it for yourself. She's 18 now..she can do what she wants basically, but we will not support poor choices...or lack of effort.
OK...my proposal for Iraq is simple...based on the parenting techniques I have learned...lets pull back some..I'm not saying lets cut off funding..or run out of there leaving a big mess in our created wake... Let's just step aside a bit...create a space for them to either rise to their excellence...or not rise to it..Lets allow the Iraqi people create a viable state...a stable Iraq...a democratic Iraq..a better Iraq...it may take 20 years...or it make never take at all..we don't know..just like a child..all we can do is guide them..we can offer some financial support...some Military support (on the periphery) some advice and assistance when asked and needed...lets give them the chance to CREATE...to be the best Iraq they can be..we cannot do it for them...we are NOT THEM...they are not America...they are NOT Iran...they are Iraq..and deserve to be Iraq....good or bad...