Not Your Children

I’ve been thinking this morning about that poem by Kahlil Gibran because sometimes I need to remind myself what my role is as a parent and I particularly love the part in the poem – “you may house their bodies but not their souls” –  how very true.  My children are free beings…not my possessions.  They have come here to find and follow their own path- how lucky we are to tend to them in in the meantime, as we strengthen our bow to eventually send them off into the world.

Lets not bend them to our will.

Break their spirit.

Control their thoughts.

Censor their speech.

It would be a grave and terrible mistake to make them like us.  Lets each teach them instead how to find their freedom of expression, their voice, and ability to listen to their own heart…and if we listen, closely and openly- they have so very much to teach us.

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.


5 thoughts on “Not Your Children

  1. There’s a smile I see
    That I want to know
    In every child, everybody
    In this world to show…

    As you walk alone
    Striving to be so bold
    There is someone around the corner
    Wait for you to hold…

    Once you take those steps
    Into your next life’s phase
    Remember all the reasons for everthing
    Were there for you to learn their taste…

    I can see in those eyes
    A will that you wear with pride
    The moon is calling
    Don’t ever run and hide…

    You could count on me
    I would never make you cry
    The days are like liquid
    Especially when love turns dry…

    There are three for me
    She packed her shit and now gone
    They haven’t seen her over a year
    Without ever having the chance to say so long…

    There’s a smile for me
    Everyday I wake I know
    In every child, everbody
    In this world shines their glow…

    I love Kahlil Gibran’s “Prophet”. Very wise words indeed.

    I’m Matt. Nice post. I can relate to your situation. At least you guys are still talking…

    Be well

      • Yes, I am an avid poet. I go with intuitions and let them drive my words. When I read about your situation I was moved and could relate to my simillar world. East coaster huh? I grew up In Massachusetts. I’m in Portland, OR now. Check out my site if you feel up for a read. I also have another blog called I haven’t written there in a while. Sometimes you have to let go and move on…

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