On Children

On Children

 

This poem was given to me when I first became a Mum, 17 years ago. In a world obsessed with the 'right' way to go about parenting, those beautiful words - by Lebanese poet Kahlil Gibran - are everything that's needed. They have never failed to provide me with much comfort and strength, as well as a way to never forget that....

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.

— Kahlil Gibran