In Maria Popova’s website “Brainpickings”, she includes excerpts from the works of renowned authors, psychologists and scientists on the meaning of life. This week she has shared the author Khalil Gibran’s thoughts on parenting:
“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.”
When we feel the anxiety of needing to “get my child to do the right thing,” think about what their world looks like from their perspective at that moment.
What do they need? How are they experiencing this particular challenge?
If we can take a moment to step back and observe what they are thinking and feeling, it is easier to join with them and offer the help of listening, and of curiosity.
There are times when we have to take charge and make decisions they do not like – but if we can deliver these with calm and with warmth, their experience of these times will stand them in good stead, for how they think about themselves, about you, and about the world.