Save the best for last

Today is the last day of National Poetry Month, and I have to admit I’m a bit sad.  It was fun doing this on the blog though, and judging by the increased traffic, I can say I’m not the only one who revels in beautiful lyric.

I have saved the best for last and this is obviously a favorite.  Written by the great Kahlil Gibran, his piece on children and his defense of their individuality is the perfect guide for parenting.  Oftentimes, I have seen — even in our family — how parents live vicariously through their children, imposing their what-ifs and what-could-have-beens on them.

I have never agreed with that style of parenting.  I do agree that the intention is noble; it is normal for a parent to find their children as their legacy.  Parents have the tendency to shield their children from the truth and experience, always quoting that children should learn what they have gone through, the whole nurture vs. nature debate.  I say this because my mother and my late father tend to be like this at times.  But the suppression of one’s individuality at such an early age, to me, is infinitely heart breaking.  More than that, even as the children enter their young adult years — even until they grow old to become upstanding citizens — opinions, thoughts and decision-making tactics are still insisted, if not imposed upon.

Influence is great, but please, have a little faith in your children and let them grow up to be their own beings.  Be there for them, that is the best parenting advice I have heard through the years.  Just be there for them.  Let them become themselves, but never stop being there for them.

And I can blabber on and on about this, but Kahlil Gibran said it best.

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.

I hope you have enjoyed this month as much as I have.

Happy National Poetry Month, everybody.

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