“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.”
Growing up, I had a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s poetry/meditations collection, The Prophet. I always found his writing a bit too sentimental for my tastes, but I’ve recently returned to his poem, “On Children” by way of the all-female African-American a cappella performance group, Sweet Honey and the Rock. The truth of these words and the ache of the inevitable (and necessary) disconnects between parent and child have been weighing heavily on my heart of late. I’m not sure if it’s the blossoming independence (of movement, of thought) of three, or if I’m in a more sentimental place in my own heart, but I can’t quite hear this without “big emotions” (as Bram would say).
May I be the best version of my “bow” for the best of these, my arrows.