“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”