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.
Ironically enough, as an adult I found that my father had had the same poem in a poster format on his wall in his office. Retired it was now in his home. That puzzled me as I never felt respected by my father. Life is weird. And that moment offered a lesson too.
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.
from the book The Prophet