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I recently read the just-released National Security Mom, thanks to the nice folks at Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing who are sponsoring a blog tour of the book.
I was anxious to read it. As a politically-aware conservative, I enjoy stories about our national security, and reading a book relating that to parenting sounded riveting.
National Security Mom: A Review
Gina Bennett, the author, is a mother of five and a Senior Counterterrorism Analyst for the state department. She wrote a 1993 report foreshadowing the danger of Osama bin Laden and his movement.
Lest this frighten you off, the book is very easy to read (and quick; you could read it in a sitting). Bennett basically takes lessons she would like to teach her children, and suggests that the US should use these in combating terrorism.
What lessons are we talking about here?
- Time-outs do not solve everything
- Actions speak louder than words
- Life is not a fairy tale
- Choose your friends wisely
- Learn from your mistakes
…and so on.
I have to admit that at times, the advice seemed simplistic: “… if we refuse to give up, people like Osama bin Laden would become as insignificant as the schoolyard bully eventually becomes to our kids.” I’d like to believe this is so, but I’m skeptical.
Overall, Bennett strikes a non-partisan tone. But again, the uh-oh-this-sounds-liberal radar in me starts to go off when I read passages like this: “Americans are jaded by the recent past and less trustful of their government these days. We question what we were told about the reasons we went to war in Iraq …”
Or, “Like many parents, I would like to see more attention spent on solving core challenges that face our nation: the economy, health care, education…” These sound like they could have come right out of Barack Obama’s speeches, so I suppose soon we’ll see the results of doing just that.
I don’t want to sound negative on the book overall. I enjoyed Mrs. Bennett’s personal story and the parts where she talks about life with her five children. My favorite chapter was probably “If you make a mess, clean it up” where she talks about the complexities of the current situation in Iraq.
Bennett closes with a call for moms to become more active in public life. She proposes that the issues facing our nation are similar to those facing states, and in turn cities, and in turn school boards, and … you get the idea. I was reminded of Sarah Palin beginning her political career by running for city council. Then I thought of the trashing Palin endured in the press, and wondered if it would be worth my mental health to run for anything (I should mention that I’m currently on our subdivision’s board, and the red tape/long meetings/lack of progress related to that have convinced me that I’m not interested in pursuing anything more in the way of governing. It’s frustrating because good people do need to be involved in public life, but would they WANT to?).