Bows set Arrows Free

Kahlil Gibran (January 6, 1883–April 10, 1931), in a short passage from The Prophet (public library) , responded as follows when a young mother with a newborn baby at her breast, asks for advice on children and parenting:

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.

Here’s to all of the stable bows, staggering from the weight of sleepless nights, absentmindedly munching cheerios, pulled from their own hair, thumbing through catalogues of the latest in potty chairs…hearts that have been cracked wide open as their owners realize it’s not about them–it really never was. Bravo to everyone who steps up to the massive challenging of loving and raising another!


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