Let me share a few pieces of inspiration about being a parent and the difficult work before us as we as we learn to nurture our children.  As a parent of a 26 year old daughter, I took to great heart the wonderful wisdom of Kahil Gibran, a poet who has inspired me since I was in college.  Here is what he writes about raising children.

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.

In my experience as a parent, it was always hard to live up to Gibran’s words, but so important to try.  Relinquishing control over the life of my daughter was so difficult.  I wanted to “protect” her.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.

Another piece of writing that inspired me on this question of being a parent comes from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation.  This particular piece, Conscious Parenting,  is a submission from a guest, Brie Stoner.  She writes a wonderfully simple and powerful piece that illustrates the power of giving birth and the responsibility that follows.

It is precisely that vulnerability that becomes our path as parents. Suddenly we come around to recognizing what has always been true: we are not in control of our universe and never have been. But now that we are oriented toward wanting to protect the small life in our care, we delude ourselves for a while and nearly lose our minds trying to be in control.

We must be careful to not control our children’s lives.  We should search for ways to release the potential stored within them.  As Gibran says:

You may strive to be like them,
but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

Parenting is hard.  Parenting is also rewarding when we approach our responsibility as a guide, facilitator, and nurturer.

 

 

 

 

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