By Georgia Argyle
I recently re-read the following poem by Kahil Gibran in which he speaks clearly of our work as parents to be the strong foundation from which our children go forth to build their own lives.
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”
And he said:
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.
by Kahil Gibran
I really love the essence of this poem, the idea that we are to do our own work so that our children may fly cleanly and clearly forward into the future that waits to receive them. We are encouraged to lovingly hand our children to themselves, to be content within ourselves to the extent that we can allow the soul qualities of our children to shine forth unencumbered.
I strive to do this with my son by looking at each situation from multiple view points, by pulling out the pieces and finding where my work remains. I am committed to continued growth, acknowledging that perfect parenting does not exist only perfection in the desire to always do my best.
When I engage in doing my own work, seek to know more and give myself the time and space I need, I am serving both myself and my child. We are both being freed to do our soul work and to create the reality in which we want to live. I have seen this time and again in my life and the life of others. I believe that our children are perfect mirrors, polished even, showing us what we love to look at and what we most fear.
There is no discrimination in a mirror, it simply reflects back what stands in front of it. We may not enjoy what we see in the mirror yet trying to make the mirror change what it reflects gets us nowhere. By taking an honest look into the mirror; identifying and owning both what serves us and what does not we are enabled to pull out the pieces that need support and attention. We can simply name what is no longer working and seek ways to change the pattern.
When my child does something I have modeled many times before, no change can be made in his being until I make the change first in my own. When I have done my work I can then, with integrity, request that the same change be made in my son. I have also noticed that when I am doing my work I come up against far fewer challenges with my son, he is free to be that arrow to shoot forward as his own being without my thoughts, my dreams and my desires weighing him down.
I rejoice at the prospect of what the next generation brings forward. They are bringing with them an energy that we have not seen, they bring with them an entirely new way of experiencing life that will take us all in a direction we have sought throughout the ages. I believe “we are the ones we have been waiting for”; we are being called upon to take up the tasks that will bring about change and our children are the ones who will step freely into this change as enlightened, energized beings aware of their inherent power to create in joy.
By doing my work and clearing the path my son and the children of his generation will bring us the change that we have all been seeking.
Georgia Argyle is a regular contributor on the ilovenelson.com website.