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.
~On Children, Kahlil Gibran
I’ve been thinking about a teaching philosophy and trying this on for size… reading “students” in place of “children.” I’m not sure this quite captures it — I’ve not played with it enough yet. But it does capture something about being firm in one’s own identity and subject matter, while also allowing room for the hand and aim of God, as well as the identity and momentum of the student. It does begin to speak to the need to remain humble in the presence of an ultimate impossibility of being able to name an ending point. At the same time, it encourages the teacher to take her role seriously, being honed at God’s hand into the best, most stable, and yet most flexible bow possible.
What do you all think?