On Children

Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 in Writings

On Children

I remember hearing this poem by Kahlil Gibran as a young child being performed as a song at one of the Re-evaluation counselling weekends my mother used to run. Two women performed the song,  ‘Your children are not your children…’ The song frightened me and I clung to my mother’s skirt. I did not want anyone telling me that I did not belong to my mother. I wanted to belong to her forever…

But now as a mother with children in their teens and coming into their teens, this poem resonates with me more and more:

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.

I remember being a young mother of 21 and my firstborn on day 3 lying on my chest, milk drunk and fast asleep. It felt as though a shooting white light of love connected us at that moment…my beating heart connected to his. It was the most blissful moment of deep deep love and I knew at that moment that would be connected in this way forever.

So as he grows older and his voice deepens that true deep connection never changes…it is always there…it is a trust and a love of the deepest knowing.

From the moment they are born our children are moving away from us…and it is trusting that and them that is the key…