Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Motherhood

Lately, I've been thinking about this poem in relation to motherhood/parenthood:


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.

Kahlil Gibran



I was listening to the rendition of this poem in song (by "Sweet Honey in the Rock") with my 5-yo daughter the other day. When I asked her if she agreed with the song, she said "NO!" It took me a few seconds of mild annoyance at her obvious misunderstanding and ridiculous stubborness to capture the irony of that exchange. I laughed with the light, bubbly laughter of bemused self-recognition, which seemed to irritate her for some reason. It only made the whole thing funnier.

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