Friday, August 27, 2010

On Children

When some people look at children, babies especially, they see a fresh start.  They see a person that doesn't know their faults or embarrassments.  They see an extension of their family or themselves. They claim ownership to that child that empowers or validates them.  They think of how that child affects them.  They think the addition of a child makes their clan or tribe stronger.  I hear a whole lot of "them" or "me" when people refer to the LO and it makes me uncomfortable.  As I prepare to go home for a visit and to introduce the LO to everyone, I start to get nervous and prickly skin of the "thems."

I am guilty of being upset when she doesn't want to cuddle or forcing her into a cute outfit for my benefit. Sometimes we all need a reminder that our children do represent a fresh start but the fresh start is theirs, not our own.  We do not possess them nor do they have a responsibility to represent what is lacking in our lives.  The LO at the tender age of five months has her own personality, demeanor and opinion. If you are too wrapped up in yourself, you may miss what she has to say.

I am reminded of an amazing poem that Polka Dot Hippo posted that I copied below.

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.