Your Children are not Your Children

Every now and then I have a parent come in who is afraid of ‘losing’ their child to the other parent. An insecurity in themselves, a fear perhaps that the other parent can’t or won’t look after their child as they think they should be looked after? Perhaps their only identity is that of a mum or a dad and they worry what they would be without it. It can occasionally be a power play or method of financial control. Sometimes it can just be a conscious or subconscious desire for the other parent to suffer too and feel the weight and consequences of choices they may have made.

In these moments I often think about this poem and want to share it.

It is, I feel a beautiful poem in many ways for many reasons but I think it’s especially pertinent to hold on to in these moments.

Kahlil Gibran – 1883-1931
Kahlil Gibran – 1883-1931

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.