Life’s Longing

Mother and child at sunset in Oceanside

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.

28 thoughts on “Life’s Longing”

  1. His poetry found a place in my heart when I was very young and he has cared exceptionally well for that place over the years. I couldn’t have asked for a finer tenant.

  2. My mother always said, Dieu vous a été prêté…You are both here only for a period, to nurture, to love and educate and let you go. She never made me feel obliged to her although I was so close to her. I`ve tried to do the same with my children.

  3. ‘Our children are life’s longing for Itself’. I have loved the words for so many years now. I try to remember this while raising mine.
    Beautiful, how you brought this back to me…

  4. “Your children are not your children.
    They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.” This part really struck a chord with me! Desire is the catalyst for creation. Or at least it seems that way to me. This entire poem was a “winner” though. Thanks so much 🙂

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