Children Chapter IV Khalil Gibran


This poem by Khalil Gibran  found a place in my heart ever since I read it .

It resonates with times of today, maybe even more than when it was first written. Yet the expectations parents have from the children doesn’t follow any time line. It has always been demanding. This poem particularly the line ‘ you may give them your love but not your thoughts’ explains explicitly how every generation before us has had the same dilemma  when bringing up their offspring


And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”
And he said:
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.



Better Parenting

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In a big city there were independent houses separated by a compound wall.

In one, lived a young techie and in the other, there was an old retired man. Both of them planted identical saplings, on their respective side of the compound wall. Both of them took good care of their plants.

The young man gave his plants lot of water and very high quality manure. The retired man however, gave his plant just the required amount of water and occasionally gave it manure.

The techie’s sapling grew into a lush green leafy robust plant. The retired man’s plant grew luxuriously leafy. One night there was a storm, along with torrential rains and gusty winds.

The next morning both came out to see the fate of their plants. To the techie’s disbelief his plant was uprooted, whereas his neighbours was unharmed.

The techie turned to the neighbor and asked, “Why was my plant uprooted by the rain, despite such good care, whereas yours stayed firm and strong despite minimum care?

The old man replied, “Son, you gave the plant everything it needed in abundance. Since the plant did not have to do anything on its own to search for what it needed, the roots of your plant haven’t gone deep down.”

“And I was giving my plant the bare necessities it needed to survive. It had no choice but to go deep down into the soil to fulfill its needs. Since the root of your plant was superficial, the rain could easily bend and break it. Since the root of my plant was deeply grounded, it could easily withstand the onslaught of the weather.”

Isn’t the story similar to the way we deal with our children, and our youngsters?

We get too overprotective and possessive of them. We end up caring too much for them, pampering them and even meeting all of their unreasonable demands, that they are incapable of handling rejection or failure.

Ask any educator and they will tell you that problem solving is foundational to a child’s learning capacity. Leadership studies as well focus on the same skill set. Good teachers don’t provide correct answers, as much as teach kids how to use problem-solving skills to arrive at a solution. Another major aspect of good parenting is discipline and respect. Instilling high moral character in kids, teaching them to treat each other with kindness, to stand up for what is right, and to respect people strengthens their moral fibre.

Teaching children starts the moment we choose to let our infant find the pacifier that fell just inches from his fingertips instead of scooping it up ourselves.

Give your child some space. Whatever age your kids are, allow them to make mistakes and teach them how to move forward. Encourage them in creative play. Kids of all ages learn most in the context of play. Make sure their play involves enough challenge and requires imagination. Eventually, problem solving becomes its own reward.

Allow children to experience failure. If we’re unwilling to see our children fail at a task, then we’re unwilling for our children to learn. Establish a solid support system at home so that they grow up satisfied with their achievements and ambitions.

By not giving them the space, the air, and the impetus to grow, by not giving them the power to handle responsibility, we are basically limiting their minds to fully develop and tackle issues.

On the other hand if we just leave them to take their own decisions, without giving them appropriate support or assistance they may end up making wrong decisions due to a lack of maturity.

Caring for our children is exactly as caring for our plants. Undoing it will make the plant die and wither but overdoing it will make the plant weak.

Surround your children with love, happiness, and encouragement so they have the confidence to reach goals. And do keep in mind that school grades are not what motivates a top student to succeed, but rather it’s his/her inner drive for learning.

As the plant needs the right amount of nourishment and sunshine to bloom, so does the child need the right balance of attention, inspiration and encouragement to succeed.

And that balance can only be achieved through wisdom and maturity.