Poetry File: Children
Good poetry is made to be shared. A friend passed this on to me after hearing it in her yoga class, and now, I pass it on to you.
“On Children” by Khalil Gibran (an excerpt from The Prophet)
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said,
“Speak to us of Children”.
And he said:
Your children are not your children,
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but are 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.
What do you think? Do you agree with these ideas of parenting? I like the line that we should strive to be like children, but not seek to make them like us. That in order to evolve as a culture, a community, a world, children must go their own way.
I suspect one of the hardest and yet exciting things about being a parent is the realization that a child is made to charter her own course. If only the child’s breaking away didn’t feel so sharp….
Poem link here.
Image: “(Child) Girl” by rcvnl via Flickr using a Creative Commons license.