The Child That’s Not Your Own

On Children by Kahlil Gibran

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.

5 Responses to “The Child That’s Not Your Own”

  1. Sabrina Ellis Says:

    Another lesson learned . . . . “You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you. For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.” We can and should indeed learn from our children. My youngest daughter will be 21 this year. She was born into this technology age. It’s second nature for her, so I find myself avoiding the “inclosed instructions” and calling her for help. She is usually busy with two or three other things, but can rattle off an answer to me and send me on my merry way. She along with my 26-year-old often offer responses and answers to questions and issues that baffle me. I keep saying to myself, “I don’t remember teaching them that, so where did they get if from?” Each generation is wiser! My six-year-old granddaughter is definitely in “another world”.

    So, the lesson learned is that they are headed for a future that I most likely will not be a part of (especially the six-year-old granddaughter). So, attempting to create clones of me only frustrates them and limits their possibilities. I am encouraging my daughters, both natural and spiritual, to GO FORTH.

    Thank you for sharing and provoking these few thoughts . . . .

  2. Kesha B. Says:

    I love this one. My mother used this as a reflection when she and I co-presented on healthy adult child and parent relationships. Thanks for posting!

  3. P.K. McCary Says:

    How Children Raise Successful Parents or Lessons I’ve Learned from My Children. I used Gibran’s “Your Children …” because of these lines: 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.

    Thank God.

  4. Vajaah Parker Says:

    I love Sweet Honey in the Rock! I love that I subscribe to a blog that features the depth of their insight and their creative presentation :-D

  5. wisdomteachesme Says:

    Thank you for posting this beautiful and truthful poem sister Weems. Much of what the poem speaks of we are living within. We have 2 daughters (13 and 14 yrs old) and they have opened up our eyes, ears and heart to view the world through their understanding, eyes, ears and heart. Our 14 yr old has ASD and being there for her always stretches our love, understanding, and shows us more about our abilities as we focus on her abilities instead of her inabilities. Truly God lives in her heart and shines His light through her life every day. The bonding between the two of them is nothing but our Lord’s Love growing and growing…

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