On children

I had this poem taped on the wall of my bedroom above my bed from about the age of 12 until I moved out of the house to go to college. It was a rebel voice for me—it spoke to me of the freedom I knew should be mine. I was always afraid my father and abuser would find it and I would get in trouble.

Ironically and painfully enough 20 years later in his home I saw the same poem hanging in his office in poster form. It was old. Shocked I asked him where it came from. He said he had had it at work all the years I was growing up.

It pained me that he somehow found it beautiful too, but abused us all none the less.

On Children
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 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.

One thought on “On children

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  1. The Flirtations sing this beautifully acapella, may be out of print though. Love that song.

    If your father admitted to himself he wasn’t the person who believed that poster, do you think he could have lived with himself? That is something I often think about people who abuse, that if they actually faced up to what they do or have done they would fall apart or have a breakdown, so they put it in a box somewhere inside them instead.

    Not excusing or explaining his abuse, just pondering on something I often ponder, how people who seem otherwise decent (as TMA is talking about with her Milgram post) end up doing horrible things to other people.

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