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.