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.
The Prophet, On Children
This is my favorite quote on parenting. Gibran was such a wise poet. As a mother I have often felt like God was bending me with all His might, that the arrows that are my children would fly straight and true. And how the poet writes of, in addition to God’s love for the arrows, how He also loves ‘the bow that is stable’. Stable. Such a beautifully descriptive word, for holding oneself with a bow, and as a parent. Strong and steady. Knowing that being the strong one for those arrows, the children granted in our care, is worth everything we can give of ourselves and learn to make it so. Understanding we will falter along the way and then having the grace to apologize, no matter how young the child, for a voice raised or shortness of temper.
I loved the story of a mother struggling to curb her temper with her two little ones, so she taught them about sizes of different fruits and vegetables they often had in the kitchen, and then made a game of it. They would be playing and her children would ask, ‘What size is your temper now Mommy?’ and she’d laugh and say, ‘The size of a pea.’ But as they headed out grocery shopping she might warn that it was the size of a cantaloupe so please stay close to the cart. And later if needed she’d tell them with seriousness, ‘Mommy’s temper is about the size of a watermelon right now.’ Children want to please. They want a happy mommy. Let’s help teach them with tools they can understand. I recall this story from the book, “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” which I feel is a worthy classic for every mother to read to become the very best ‘Mommy’ she can be.
Click here to view “How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk” on Amazon.com http://www.amazon.com/How-Talk-Kids-Will-Listen/dp/0380811960
Image source The Tree Maker (family coat of arms/wood plaques) http://www.thetreemaker.com/