Been thinking a lot lately about children--my future children, the children currently in my life, and the plight of children in general in this country and in this world. I guess it's because the winter holiday season has swung into high gear, and because I'm in wedding-planning mode (went to try on dresses today--what an ordeal, but that's another story) that I have children on my mind. My favorite song about children is 'On Children' by Sweet Honey in the Rock. I was talking about children and that song today with my friend A.--how a lot of people I know who don't even like children all that much are having children and falling in love with them, or at least, fallling in love with their own children, but how many people don't see looking out for the welfare of all children as a priority in their lives. How many folks just want little replicas of themselves running around, and don't understand the unique spiritual role that children play not only in our lives, but in the future of the planet. And that our roles as parents and supportive adults in their lives is not to mold them into our own images, or to treat them like highly prized pets, but to be the stable, rock-steady foundation for them (or 'bows' as Gibran calls us below) so that they can move forward into their own future. A. agreed, then told me something I didn't know, that that song is based on a poem by Khalil Gibran. So I looked it up, and here it is.
by Khalil 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 our 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.
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