I want to share this amazing poem with you today. This one I read when I was quite young and these words made a lot of sense to me. I completely agreed with the poet on how we need to deal with our children. In fact I even tried sharing it with my mother but I’m afraid she did not appreciate it much at the time!
The poem is called Children (from the book – The Prophet by Khalil Gibran). “Khalil Gibran (January 6, 1883 – April 10, 1931) was a Lebanese artist, poet, and writer. In the Arab world, Gibran is regarded as a literary and political rebel. His romantic style was at the heart of a renaissance in modern Arabic literature, especially prose poetry, breaking away from the classical school. In Lebanon, he is still celebrated as a literary hero. He is chiefly known in the English-speaking world for his 1923 book The Prophet, an early example of inspirational fiction including a series of philosophical essays written in poetic English prose. Gibran is the third best-selling poet of all time, behind Shakespeare and Lao-Tzu.”
Children by Khalil 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.
These lines explain to us that children are individuals in their own right. We tend to try and possess them and this is where we go wrong. Gibran simply asks us to love them and not thrust our ideas or thoughts on them. He reminds us that they have a mind of their own. So let them use it.
Do not try to make them like you, as they are meant to go farther than you will ever reach! Learn from them if you can. Ensure that you give them the right foundation for going ahead and leading their lives to its fullest. Also he gently consoles us by saying that we parents are equally loved by our creator, especially when we play our roles to perfection. I feel this is a poem every parent needs to read and read again until they understand its true essence.