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On Children

Our first-born child started kindergarten today, and it stirred up more emotion that I had anticipated.  As we walked into his classroom his hand felt small in mine, I realized that before too long, my hand might feel small in his.   I felt joy and hope and nostalgia and fear and love all at once — simultaneously wanting to set him free with pride and hold him tight to protect him as he entered a new school and a new phase.  I wanted to know he’ll always need me…but not need me too much.  And I just so wanted to be assured that he will thrive…in whatever way is right for him.  So without a ton of energy to pour into this space right now, I thought the best thing to post today was one of my favorite poems by Kahil Gibran.  Whether you have a child or simply are a child, may this offer a bit of perspective…

On Children

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 backwards 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 Comments Post a comment
  1. Joan #

    I will never forget the days when Mark and Sean started school too. It swelled my heart. To me it was more touching than their graduation. I think the feeling when our children start this road to independence is so full of emotion, pride, and trepidation that you have provided them with the tools they need to survive in their upcoming ad entires. The fear comes in losing a bit of control every day! Finn, good luck in your path to life! We love you! Grampa and Jonana

    August 15, 2013
  2. My mom often wrote parts of that poem to me. Don’t you just want to freeze time sometimes.

    August 16, 2013
  3. My child started a little “school” that isn’t really school, just daycare…and still, I can’t even tell you how proud of him every time he brings home something he made (I’m using the term “made” loosely here- he’s not even 2!) what a sweet post. xox

    August 19, 2013
  4. A beautiful reminder as my youngest starts Kindergarten on Monday.

    August 20, 2013
  5. Erin #

    this brought tears to my eyes…thank you!

    August 20, 2013

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