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
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, ‘On Giving,’ The Prophet
On this Wisdom Wednesday, my oldest son celebrates his 25th birthday. A friend and mentor gave me a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet several years ago, pointing out the section “On Children” specifically. It echoes much of what I believe about allowing children to be their own persons.