‘On Children’ by Khalil Gibran 1883-1931

Khalil Gibran

Your children are not your own 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 can 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.

This made a great impression upon me in 2015 or 16 when I first discovered it. If only I had known about it when my son was young and at home, it would have been a go to for me to meditate upon from time to time. But even so it really helped me at the time to ‘let go’ as they say of those reins that are always so tightly held as long as possible. A metaphor for my life, and could be one of my favourite poems of all time.

Published by simplyme841

How I got through it I really don't know, but I did a vow of silence for learning disabilities for a year a couple of years ago. I had wanted to do it for three or four years beforehand, after finding out about an Australian who did it for the animals. But the timing was never right. It was difficult but during the silence I learnt about John Francis, the environmentalist and author, who did it for seventeen years whilst walking barefoot across America playing the banjo. I had to make sure I drank enough fluids and had plenty of exercise so that my respiratory system didn't collapse, and learnt new things and read difficult books to keep my mind alert. It is very tough again during lockdown too, but immensely difficult for those with learning disabilities. I began writing my poetry last spring in the first Covid pandemic lockdown, and it poured out of me. But as you can tell from my readings my voice is still weak.

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