Your Children are not Your Children

by Sheila on January 6, 2012

When I was 20, I visited the home of a dear high school friend. His parents had a poem on the wall that I read and I was so immediately moved by it that I was left standing there as tears ran down my face. I memorized it then; it was easy. It had that kind of impact. Although, friends used to call me the DB (database). They used to say, “What happened this day, etc. and I would tell them. Hence.. So I have a bit of a good memory.

I have held this poem in my heart since that day. I knew I wanted to be a mom and have about 5 kids and thought this might serve me in the future. Well, that didn’t happen. The having 5 or any kids. So, what do I think now?

I recently have had some really great conversations with friends about their kids and also with my family with my own nieces. Often I feel as if my input doesn’t mean much to them because they feel I can’t ever really understand.  I get this. And, I get that I am a human being who has great insight and intution; I am not without some instincts here. I also worked as a school psychologist for 5 yrs so I think I have had some time with kids from different populations and their issues.  I know a little from this.  And, I feel such love and protection and caring for my nieces.  Perhaps this isn’t the same as when one is a parent.  I don’t know.

I recited this poem to a friend at a Leadership program and she asked that I send it to her to pass on to her sister.  I thought…if I ever passed this one to my 2 sisters, they would not be pleased.

All I know is that when I read these words, I felt enlightened and I didn’t even know what that meant back then.

Here it is:

 On 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.

I bow to the beauty and love. I trust that God and I decided on my plan for my life. I still wonder why.

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