YOU MAY HOUSE THEIR BODIES BUT NOT THEIR SOULS
“There are only two lasting bequests
we can hope to give our children…
One of these is roots, the other, wings.”
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
My last Post ‘When you Cover Your Child’s Nose and Mouth’ was triggered off from my many years’ – particularly the recent years’ – interactions with well-intended yet over anxious parents. Moreover, I have my own experience both as a son of my own parents and a father of my own son… “When to step in and when to step back” and importantly, “How far we can go with our children”… “What will ‘make’ them and what will ‘break’ them”… “What comes from our strength, trust and security and what comes from our weakness, anxiety and insecurity”… yes, these questions challenge us to be honest… If we pause to sincerely address them, the parenting experience can leave us wiser, stronger and richer in life…
After all, there is no school for parenting – except ‘parenting’. Right?
In response to my last Post, Reema*, a friend of mine, wrote to me her honest confession. I am sharing it here for its purity and with the hope that Reema has voiced it for all of us…
Hi Gerald, I am a great fan of your write-ups, and most of them are inspiring not just for kids but for their parents, too. This particular blog of yours ‘When You Cover Your Child’s Nose and Mouth’ sent me on a soul-searching frenzy…
I am not the kind of mother who has directed her children to want a career of my choice; but, when they have made their choices, I get anxious for them to achieve their dreams and, in that process, I end up pushing them at times. May be, it comes from a back ground where I have struggled to be where I am as I had no support or advice then… and that period of my life was very bad… Having ‘been there seen that’ makes me all the more anxious as I would not want my kids to go through the same depression I had been through.
Somewhere, may be, the generation today has that confidence that everything will work out which I don’t seem to get… May be, I should stop living their dreams and let them go through their experiences; but, my anxiety that Life doesn’t give us a second chance throws me into an advisory role again… It is a Catcah-22 situation Gerald… I did not want to post this long response on FB and hence used Messenger.
Thanks Gerald… Do continue writing. It surely does send people on an introspective mode.
Best wishes, Reema
* Name changed
I am never tired of going back to Kahlil Gibran’s famous words on children (From his book – ‘THE PROPHET’). I wish to end my Post with it, once again…
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.
Pic.: Sheela Krishnamony