“Your Children Are NOT Your Children”

Ever heard it said that what you think of increases in your life? I first came across this poem while reading “The Fifth Discipline” by Peter Senge and it it was just so beautiful time literally stopped. Here it i:

Your Children are not Your Children

by Kahlil Gibran

Your Children are not Your Children

They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.

All I can pray for is that I will have the strength to let my own children be, to learn from them and not ruin their lives by trying to force my own unfulfilled dreams on them. Sometines, while see a 3 year old girl with heavy make-up and some super-complicated hair (which is often beautiful) but I ask myself … “Does this little girl care about all this? or is it just the mother trying to make a statement?”.

This seems to contrast the Bible’s message to

“bring up a child in the path he should follow, and when he grows, he will not depart from it” .

Problem is, even when we are parents, some of us are still very lost, living lives devoid of some higher purpose, in pursuit of material wealth and all the other vanities that we use to define our existence, we really should not be giving a path to our children. BUT we can give them the gift of a few undeniable principles — the value of hard work, of humility, of service to others, of gratitude and integrity and if we do a good job of modelling those virtues ourselves, then we can let them use those principles to make their own paths and God won’t judge us for what paths they choose, for we would have done our part as the Bow.

I think I’ll go get myself a copy of “The Prophet”

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Alone …But Not Lonely: Taking Home with U

What is home? Where is it? Those are the questions I have had to face for myself lately. I have spent more than a third of my life away from the house in which I was born, away from the people that conceived and raised me (God bless them). If that is what home is …. and I have thought so for a long time, then that part of my life spent away from it has been …. a huge loss.

I once read somewhere that “a home is any house with love in it” and I have experienced it to be true. For I  twice (completely different countries) lived with other woman who neither fed nor clothed me but I knew as well as my own breath that they loved me like any one of their own children. Different women have tended me when I was ill, fed me, chastised me and at those moments, I have felt the same thing I have felt at home in the arms of my mother: the embrace that felt like it could protect me from a bullet, the hug that heals my heart-ache, the eyes that see into my soul and the look of gratitude and pride that says “My son, I am proud of you” without using a single word.  But then because I have had to move often, it(that physical proximity) hasn’t lasted.

Now, I have come to realize, that if you can’t carry your home in your heart, you will always be lonely. It is those thoughts of love, of care, the fond memories, the scars of shared care, of sacrifice that make home. And so I woke up this morning, so far away from my mother she couldn’t hear me if I screamed (a scary thought), four hours difference between us, i felt lonely, but reached into my heart and summoned home. … all of them, all of the ‘homes’ across different physical places I have lived, I carry them within me and I am grateful to God for this revelation. Now, I can go about my business anywhere I am, knowing that even though I am a lone, I am not lonely, for my home is in my heart and Allah watches over me.