The following powerful poem by Khalil Gibran (1922) speaks to the notion of allowing our children to own their own dreams. We must guide and support them, while at the same time allowing them to discover their own ambitions, identity and purpose and to chart their own life paths.
Kahlil Gibran (1883 –1931) was a Lebanese-American artist, poet and writer whose poetry gained popularity in the 1930s and again in the 1960s counter-culture. He is chiefly known in the English-speaking world for his philosophical book The Prophet (1923).
* * *
Your Children Are Not Your Children
by Khalil Gibran, 1922
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.