cartoon cow writing at a desk

The Parenting Principle (4.8.17)

Before I had children (B.K., Before Kids), I heard some information on a program called Sound and Spirit on National Public Radio (NPR) that struck a chord inside of me. The person on the program said, “Children are not ours. They are part of the universe. They come through us…” The information vibrated deeply within my soul and I kept it as a sort of compass to use for my future parenting years. I just ran across this poem which expands on that concept and wanted to share it with you. To make the poem more open-minded, you can substitute different pronouns for the “woman” and “He” parts. We are one in the same. Gender is important, but not essential to learning and life.



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 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, 1923, 1973.
Found in Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet, Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1973.