I was reading ‘My Country, My Life’ – autobiography of India’s former Home Minister and top-most leader of Bharatiya Janata Party. The book is an excellent read with quotes, thoughts and lines from various eminent personalities from various walks of life.

One of them was a poem by Kahlil Gibran – On Children.

I know very little about Kahlil Gibran’s life and work but am now interested to know more after reading the poem, which goes as follows:

On Children by 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 our 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.

Marianna, Kahlil's Sister
Marianna, Kahlil’s Sister. Painting by Kahlil Gibran

~ Kaustubh