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Ouch, parenting

Mother and child Frederic Leighton

I was talking to a friend yesterday about a moment's realization I had the other day. My sister and I were chatting on the phone, and, as often happens, we began wringing our hands over what kind of education is best for each of our children. Should I home-school? If I do, when (or if) do we put child(ren) back in school? Which school then? etc etc.

Of course I was consumed, at least momentarily, with anxiety over my choices. When it suddenly hit me, I cannot, as a parent, control my children's experience with the world. Of course you know this somewhere deep down all along, but like so much wisdom, it comes and goes. 

It's particularly tough for today's parent, who faces a constant barrage of parenting information. It lulls us into thinking we are in control, we are in charge. And it's tough, too, because to some extent we are! Especially when they are newborns and dependent on us for nearly everything. And statistics and outcome-based research is everywhere. So our choices DO matter. 

So, I get it. But ultimately. Ultimately, we have to let go some. There will be positives and negatives attached to each choice we make and so, after making as-best-a-decision-as-I-can, I think it is wise to let go of what happens after that choice. Or perhaps, deal with the outcomes as they come. I think this will take daily practice.

My friend, after hearing me relate my conversation with my sister, and my subsequent feeling about it all, found this poem by Kahlil Gibran, called, aptly enough, "Your Children Are Not Your Children".

I'll warn you to have the tissues ready if you are as prone to tears as I am, but also, there is a deep wisdom and comfort in these words, I think. Remember, you are somebody's baby too. xo

On Children
 Kahlil Gibran

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.

Link here. Image here.

Comments

Ah yes, this is such a tear-jerker! Takes me back to the 70s, when I first remember reading it. Regarding controlling our children's environment, and wanting everything to be perfect for them--so, so true. But we short-change them in not realizing how strong and resourceful they are. And by modeling strength and resourcefulness, we show them they can be that way too. And now I'm sounding preachy, so I'll stop.

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About Me

My Photo Hi! I'm Hope. Welcome to my website all about: style, food, travel & parenting. I live in Columbia, SC with my husband and two bebes.

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