Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of life’s longing for itself.
They come through you not from you. And though they are with you, they belong not to you.
You can give them your love but not their thoughts, for they have their own thoughts.
You can 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 can strive to be like them but seek not for them to be like you for life goes not backward not forward 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.
For even as He loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
(Originally written in the Prophet, 1919)
I love this poem – know it word for word. It inspires me to be a better parent – lets me understand my job as a dad. I am so grateful for my two beautiful children. I love the people that they are becoming. I love to watch them grow and become. They inspire me to be the best that I can be.