Walking The Tightrope

** On Children **

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 (from The Prophet)

Father & daughter trying out the tightrope on a fine summer day in a garden in Bergen (May 2013)

Father & daughter trying out the tightrope on a fine summer day in a garden in Bergen (May 2013)

Disclaimer: I am not a parent, but I read this part of Kahlil Gibran as a young adult and convinced myself that this was the perfect justification to rebel against my parents. Not a very intelligent thing to do, I think – in hindsight. Anyways, the link I am trying to make is that – I suppose parenting is full of ambiguity…take the picture above, where I am sure there are some folks who will hold the child while it is on the tightrope. And then there are others who will let the child learn by themselves, as seems to be the case in the photos. Either might think that was the best or the worst decision depending on the outcome. But their choice does not necessarily reflect if some parents care more or less than the others…

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