In the stash of books that I found after my Mother’s death, many checked out of the Minneapolis Library in the 40’s and never returned, was a copy of The Prophet. Kahil Gibran’s set of poetic essays. It was one of the more peculiar finds in my Mother’s library, but as a young 13 year old idealist I read and reread it because it had been hers, even if obtained in a larcenous manner. Many of my generation read and reread Gibran, it doesn’t make me special, just glad that it was introduced into my life through the things my Mother left behind.
Stumbling upon music today, I started listening to Sweet Honey In The Rock, and these remarkable women were singing Gibran’s essay On Children. Tears welled.
I’m such a big baby sometimes.
Anyway, here are the words and performance. I just felt I should share.
Influences I guess.
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.